The right attitude… At altitude to protect the ecosystem
A few words before you venture onto the paths of Serre Chevalier Vallée. Whether you are on your own, with a partner, family, small children, teenagers and animals, on foot or by bike…
A reminder of our shared responsibilities towards the ecosystem…Respect for nature is first and foremost about staying on the walking paths.
- Cutting corners and straying off the path wears away the soil, causing erosion and irreversible damage to the environment.
- There are often vitally important microcosms nestling beneath stones: take care not to move the stones but if you do, put them back carefully the way you found them.
- Private property must also be treated with respect, and remember that land always belongs to someone.
- Don’t disturb people working in pastures, farmland and forestry areas. Don’t forget the livestock, and close gates and enclosures when you leave them. Sheep are always watched, so please respect the work of the shepherds and their sheep dogs. Watch out for the ‘patous’, or Pyrenean Mountain dogs. While they look like great big ‘teddy bears’, they are there to guard the flocks of sheep. In fact, their name comes from the word ‘pastou’, a corruption of ‘pastre’, which means shepherd in old French.
- Keep your dog on a lead at all times and don’t let it run off. (Before you set off find out about those areas where pets are not allowed.)
- Respect the trees. Don’t carve your name into them and don’t swing on their branches.
- By picking a flower or plant along your walk you may also be fatally damaging the health of a rare or protected species. Remember that mushrooms, even the poisonous ones, are vital to the environment. While picking flowers and berries is part of the fun of walking, don’t plunder nature’s resources. (Picking flowers and plants is strictly forbidden in Nature Reserves, Regional Nature Parks and National Parks, so make you sure you know the rules before you set off.)
- Consider taking binoculars to observe the animals, as trying to get close to them will frighten them off.
- Most importantly, don’t try to get closer to the animals by offering them food! You risk changing their diets, which could have deadly consequences.
For example: Marmots are herbivores… Chocolate bars, crisps and crackers are harmful to their health, and means they don’t store the right kind of body fat for their hibernation. As a result, marmots eating these kinds of food have little chance surviving the winter.
- Respect the silence of the environment, try not to make too much noise and speak quietly so as not to scare the animals and disturb other visitors.
- Rubbish messes up the environment. You must take all your rubbish with you when you leave the valley. This obviously includes non-degradable items (plastic bags, batteries, etc) but also non-biodegradable (cans, cartons, paper, cigarette butts, etc) and even organic waste (apple cores, fruit peel, etc). A simple banana skin can take 8 to 10 months to biodegrade, while an apple core can take from 1 to 5 months, and fruit peel can last 3 to 6 months (dried fruits and nuts can last a year).
- And, of course, no fires…
Now that you have done your revision, you are ready for a beautiful walk through Serre Chevalier Vallée!