New members from Switzerland and France
Binntal Nature Park
Binntal Nature Park is a regional platform for the conservation of the rich natural and cultural heritage, ensuring sustainable economic activities and strengthening the cohesion of the population.
Binntal Nature Park has been the first protected area in the entire Canton of Valais that was recognized as “regional nature park of national importance” by the Swiss Government in the year 2011.
Binntal is known as “the valley of hidden treasures” and for its wealth of geological resources. Nature has made the Binn valley one of the regions of the Alps richest in mineral deposits. Up until now, 273 different minerals have been discovered, 23 are unique in the world.
Flora and fauna are utterly diverse, too. 184 animal and plant species that are on the red list have been found in Binntal Nature Park. The diversity of animals, plants, and habitats is astonishing: low-moor bogs, dry neglected grassland, dark spruce forests, barren alpine pastures, lush meadows, glacier forelands, sparse pine forests, dark mountain lakes, rock steppes, old fields, alpine meadows and much more, form a varied mosaic.
Lynchets, hay meadows, alpine pastures, paths, dry-stone walls, stables, barns, and alpine cabins shape the traditional cultural landscape and bear witness to the diligence and hard work of past generations.
The villages and hamlets with their dark houses made of sun-kissed larch wood are so beautiful and well preserved that they were incorporated into the Federal Inventory of Objects of National Importance.
Since the start of the second part of the 20th century, the regional economy has been undergoing a long-lasting structural change from an agrarian to a service society including a shift from jobs in agriculture to jobs in the service sector.
During this transformation many jobs have been lost in the areas of craftsmanship and trade. Some of them could be replaced due to the growth of the service industry, which was especially induced through tourism.
The effects that urbanization and globalization had on the agglomerations and depletion of the peripheral regions, which are the results of the concentration of growth, have been noticeable since the mid-90s.
Le mans metropole arche de la nature
Located ten minutes from downtown Le Mans and a few meters from the Abbey of Epau, the Domaine de l’Arche de la Nature offers visitors a vast natural space that represents the main landscapes of the Sarthe region.
Along the way, visitors will discover the river, the forest, the countryside and can visit the Water House, the Forest House, and the Maison de la Prairie. The sports fields and playgrounds for children will delight young and old alike. In all, 450 hectares of nature are permanently open to the public.
Since 1997, L’Arche de la Nature has been offering its many nature events. This natural space, created and managed by Le Mans Métropole, combines a spirit of discovery of nature with relaxation, particularly during major thematic popular festivals that welcome more than 70,000 visitors each year.