Mountain races in protected areas – EUROPARC Spain

Presentation of the "Guide to good practices for holding mountain races in protected natural areas". Photo by EUROPARC Spain.

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Last November, the President of EUROPARC Spain Carles Castell, and the president of FEDME (Spanish Federation for Mountain Sports and Climbing) Joan Garrigós, presented in Madrid the “Guide to good practices for holding mountain races in protected natural areas.

An innovative and collaborative initiative

This initiative, which has been led both by EUROPARC Spain and FEDME, counted with the support of the Barcelona Provincial Council, Andalusian Regional Government and Basque Government. In its preparation, over thirty relevant experts on this matter have participated, including natural areas directors and conservationists, mountain sport technicians, runners and usual participants in this type of races. The document has been published by the Fernando González Bernáldez Foundation and it is available in Spanish, English and Catalan.

The objective of this guide is to provide to organization bodies of mountain races, environmental administrations and race participants, with a set of orientation criteria to develop these kind of probes inside protected areas. The guide has been created to:

  • Improve the compatibility between mountain races and other sport activities, and natural and cultural heritage conservation in protected areas.
  • Minimize the environmental impacts associated to these type of activities.
  • Disseminate the heritage values present in protected areas, as well as the environmental and social services that they provide, especially among race organizers, runners and other sport amateurs.
  • Boost the local development on those territories where mountain races and other sport activities in natural areas are organized.

EUROPARC Spain and FEDME promote this pioneer initiative in Europe.

During the presentation, Carles Castell highlighted the “innovative and collaborative character of this initiative, which counted with the active participation of all the collectives, sectors and administrations involved. Furthermore, this experience conforms an exemplary case in tune with the basis of the Society and Protected Areas 2020 Programme promoted by EUROPARC Spain.

Following the presentation, a round table was held under the theme “Mountain races in protected areas: the challenge of balancing sport and conservation”, in which runners, sport federations, scientist and natural areas representatives participated. The debate offered an opportunity to address the problems generated by these type of races in some protected areas and discuss some proposals and solutions that are being carried out to solve them.

Download the Guide to good practices for holding mountain races in protected natural areas (ES) from EUROPARC Spain website or download the English version here.