Celebrating Nature: European Parks Day

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Parks are not only reserves of biodiversity, but also places for meeting, discovery and recreation.

European Parks Day was established in 1999 by EUROPARC, in honour of the creation of the first Sweden’s national park in 1909. Today is a day that invites people to explore parks and to join the initiatives all over the world.

Currently, the largest park in the world is Vatnajökull (Iceland). With its landscapes of glaciers, waterfalls and icebergs, the park is twice the size of Corsica. The Black Forest National Park (Germany) and the Sintra-Cascais Park (Portugal) complete the European podium.

The European campaign message

As part of the celebration of the European Parks Day 2024, the EUROPARC association decides to emphasise the crucial importance of our natural areas in promoting and implementing environmental policies, as well as their fundamental role in ensuring a sustainable and resilient European society.

What has been built over the years cannot be taken for granted and it is necessary to consolidate a Europe in which citizens can live, work and recreate. Therefore, the call is to support the natural heritage with our votes on the eve of the European elections.

"Europe's parks and protected areas bring political decisions to life!" we learn from the website. The hashtag for this year is #VoteForNature.

Events and Activities in Italy

With the slogan #Insieme per la natura (Together for Nature), a week of celebrations is kicking off across the boot.

The peninsula welcomes 24 national parks, covering 1.5 million hectares of land and 71,000 hectares of sea, representing one of the country’s greatest assets. In addition, there are 843 protected areas that further enrich this natural heritage.

The set of national and regional protected areas, together with the Natura 2000 Network, covers over 11,800,000 hectares, more than 22% of the land surface and about 15% of the sea surface under the Italian jurisdiction.

To name a few: since the creation of the Gran Paradiso National Park in 1922, the Abruzzo National Park, Stelvio, Majella, Gran Sasso, Vesuvius, Pollino and the Belluno Dolomites have followed.

These treasures of biodiversity deserve to be protected. For this purpose, 24th of May marks the start of a week of events in Italy’s parks. In Latium — 100 protected areas in addition to the Circeo National Park — the festival is dedicated to Nature and Sport with excursions, guided tours, scientific conferences, and events such as Art Therapy in the Woods, Trekking at Sunset, Bird Watching Guide, and Nature Walks.

The Parco dei Castelli Romani, for example, is organising events such as the Slow Walk in the company of donkeys on 18th of May and The Bee Festival on 19th of May.

The Cinque Terre National Park will also celebrate with 130 km of trails open free of charge to participants. Visitors are invited to explore the paths, getting the access to the entire trail network, including the Green-Blue Trail (Monterosso-Vernazza-Corniglia).

«The free opening of the Cinque Terre Park trails is a unique opportunity to explore this beautiful area », says Donatella Bianchi, president of the Cinque Terre National Park.

This annual event not only celebrates the beauty and biodiversity of parks, but also promotes environmental awareness and commitment in protecting our natural heritage. 

Participating in European Parks Day means contributing to the preservation of ecosystems and recognising the importance of a balanced relationship between human beings and nature.