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In the frame of InnovAlps project and during this last year and a half, ALPARC has been committed in parks regional development in the Alps. During on-sites visits and workshops in three pilot regions, skills and experiences of local actors coming from parks, politics, tourism and local development were rallied and were able to exchange. InnovAlps has also presented a panel of initiatives of innovating local development, all characterized by novelty, risks-taking, valorization and cooperation between protected areas technical teams and other local actors. The project was closed by a final conference in the Regional Nature Park Pfyn-Finges (Switzerland) last September. In the final report, ALPARC has summarized project results and has formulated political recommendations for an improvement of the innovating capacity in the alpine parks territories.

On the basis of these results, ALPARC currently develop ideas or projects for a continuation in the “Regional development and life quality” focusing on, for instance, sustainable tourism or short circuits. In addition, ALPARC think about proceeding to work with an actor network of local development and enhance exchanges between alpine parks territories.


ALPARC is particularly thankful to the three pilot regions of InnovAlps project and their actors for their commitment, the interest they have shown in this project. ALPARC also thanks Austrian, Swiss, and French parks federations for their collaboration in this project. This project has been financed by Swiss federal office of the Environment.

More information
•    Final report is available on request (in German). A synthesis will be available in the other Alpine languages beginning of 2017.


Confederation helvetique

On the occasion of the AlpWeek and the Alpine Conference, ALPARC handed over a list of political demands for the future of Alpine protected areas to the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Dr. Barbara Hendricks, and to the official representative of the Austrian Presidency of the Alpine Convention.

The document entitled “The future of Protected Areas in the Alps - Political Demands” had been jointly elaborated by the ALPARC members in the context of the network’s 20 Year Anniversary. The document comprises six key demands that are crucial for Alpine protected areas in order to ensure the continuous and successful carrying out of their missions in nature and landscape protection as well as in sustainable development.

Read the complete document below in English or in the Alpine languages.

The poster collection "Bilder der Innovation - Images de l'innovation 2016" highlights innovations in regional development in protected areas of the Alps.It presents 17 innovative approaches which were identified in the InnovAlps project (2015-2016) in national and regional/nature parks in France, Switzerland and Austria.

A focus lies on innovations in the InnovAlps pilot regions: the regional nature parks Tiroler Lech, Pfyn-Finges and the Baronnies provençales. Obviously, the posters only represent a tiny part of innovations in peripheral areas of the Alps. The collection is thus more a sort of a starting point, providing lots of free space for new posters and opening a new way to communicate innovations in protected areas.


Published in The resources library
Wednesday, 05 October 2016 16:12

InnovAlps' final conference documentation

Below you will find the documentation of the final conference of the InnovAlps project (2015-2016): the presentations of ALPARC and the pilot regions, the presentation and a note on a creative technique (German, French) of the external speaker, the graphic designer Jonas Wyssen.

Published in The resources library

ALPARC has officially recognized the commitment of three Alpine nature park regions to innovation and sustainability in regional development. On the occasion of the InnovAlps final conference in Leuk-Susten (Valais, CH) on 29th and 30th of September, the Regional nature park Pfyn-Finges (CH), the Natural park region Tiroler Lech (AT) and the Regional natural park of the Baronnies provençales (FR) have been distinguished as the first pilot regions for innovative regional development.

25 participants from four Alpine countries attended the final conference in the nature park Pfyn-Finges. It was the last official event of the project. It provided the opportunity to review the lively exchanges that took place during the pilot region workshops and to present the project results.

The poster collection "Bilder der Innovation - Images de l'innovation 2016" has been presented during the final conference. It highlights innovations in regional development in protected areas of the Alps.

At this link you can find the documentation of the final conference of the InnovAlps project.
The complete press release is available for download below.


ALPARC is coordinating the project InnovAlps on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN

InnovAlps logo 1 main low

The third and last InnovAlps workshop took place on the 21st and 22nd of June 2016 in the Regional nature park Baronnies provençales. Situated between the Southern Alps and the Provence, the Baronnies massif is at the crossroads of Alpine and Provençal influences. The place is famous for its valuable and diversified local production, its open landscapes, its typical agricultural and built heritage and its geology and biodiversity.

In this vast territory (half of the villages has less than 100 inhabitants), the nature park administration spearheads many rural development initiatives and coordinates innovative actions in collaboration with a large network of local actors. Some of them, together with the park staff, had opportunity to express themselves during the workshop in June. They underlined the importance of the park’s development charter as a guiding principle for their actions in favour of a sustainable, economic and solidary development. In order to support such a development, the actors think that it is essential to relocate the local economy, based on local resources and production. The region needs to sustain and promote mountain agriculture through diversification and a quality approach. In the Baronnies region, agriculture is a key sector that employs 18% of the working force.

03 Worhsop Buis les Baronnies ALPARC VD

One innovative initiative in this perspective is a network of about fifty producers and buyers (artisans, restaurateur and small shops). The aim was to improve local products sales and to facilitate supply. In 2013, the network became institutionalised with the creation of the association “Short circuits in the Baronnies Provençales”. In cooperation with the park and the department, an online shop was created which facilitates the link between producers and buyers. It also allows improving logistics in this vast territory, with collect and pick-up locations. The Association members ensure the quality of their products by signing a common charter on top of their official certifications (AOP, IGP, AB, …).

The participants also discussed other projects of the park: the development of touristic offers that valorise the outstanding quality of the night sky, natural and cultural heritage education or the promotion of new work and life styles, such as co-working. Gilberte Bremond, deputy director of the park, underlined that the French Regional nature parks have the explicit mission to innovate, to “realise experimental or exemplary actions”. Innovation is in their DNA, so to say. The Swiss and Austrian participants benefitted from the experiences and were able to collect ideas for their own territories.

InnvAlps is coming to its end

The InnovAlps project is a search for innovative approaches and alternatives for development of protected area regions. Three pilot regions, all classified nature parks, have engaged in a transnational exchange on innovation. They have presented their projects in the fields of tourism, local production, environmental education and more generally governance and cooperation on regional level.

The last InnovAlps event will the final conference on September 29th and 30th, 2016, open to all interested persons. It will take place in the regional nature park Pfyn-Finges in the Valais (CH). Under the title « Alpine Nature Parks – Model for Change », the conference will present the results of the project. The event will also be the occasion to discuss further actions within the ALPARC network in the working field of regional development.

National Parks Austria ( and Hohe Tauern National Park ( are pleased to announce the 6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas, 2nd – 4th of November 2017.

The symposium will be held at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Salzburg, Austria. The Call for Themed Sessions is now open: please enter your suggestions for themed sessions before 31 October 2016 online on

At this symposium researchers, protected areas managers, as well as individuals from government, business, non-governmental organizations and the general public, who are interested in protected areas, may present and discuss topics which are highly significant for protected areas and are currently taken up by research. The manifold aspects of the interrelation between protection aims, protected area management and the impacts on nature, society and the regional economy in times of transition form the general thematic base of this international conference, held every four years since 1996.

Six of Austria’s most ecologically valuable regions have been designated as national parks. They reflect the great diversity of this Central European country: high mountains, forests, water and riparian marshes, and steppes. Austria is part of two biogeographic regions: the alpine and the continental, and most of the Austrian national parks are part of two important regional networks for protected areas: ALPARC and DanubePARKS. In close cooperation with these regional networks, and supported by scientific institutions, we are looking for entries across the entire geographic region from the Western Alps to the Danube Delta.

2-stage Call
In order to identify current issues of relevance for both research and protected areas, the organizers of the Symposium invite all interested individuals, institutions, protected areas, networks and initiatives to propose topics and contributions to this event in two stages: First, we are asking you now to propose session topics. Second, in early 2017 you will be invited to submit presentations for the definitive themed sessions. The conference programme will be finalized by the end of June 2017.

09.Nationalpark Hohe Tauern Kärntner

Call for Themed Sessions
First, please suggest topics for themed sessions. A themed session can be organized as a series of presentations, as a workshop or as a chaired discussion and will last 1.5 hours (or 2x1.5 hours).

Please enter your suggestions for themed sessions no later than 31 October 2016 online on

All proposals to be written in English.

Following a review, the organizers will decide on definitive themed sessions by 12 December 2016.
We welcome research topics from all disciplines and basic or applied research relevant for protected areas. We are looking especially for proposals of:
 •    sessions with a clear link to highly significant topics for protected areas and/or management practices
 •    session themes addressing current research or innovative approaches
 •    sessions that promise contributions from different countries (i.e. not park- or country-specific)
 •   sessions focusing on current research approaches to wilderness and wilderness areas in Europe, on one or more aspects like natural processes, global change, threats, visitors, education or   governance


Please note:
Conference language will be English.
There will be no refunding of costs for travelling, accommodation and meals that are not included in the conference. We are unable to award grants.

We are looking forward to receiving your proposals of themed sessions for the 6th International Symposium for Research in Protected Areas 2017 in Salzburg!

Many thanks in advance!

08 Logos financeurs Symposium

Published in News from the Alps

The international conference of LabEx ITEM " Mountain regions, territories of innovation" will be held in the City Territory - Université de Grenoble-Alpes, Grenoble, France, from 11 to 13 January 2017.

The aim of this project is to conduct a social, economic and cultural analysis of innovation in Mountain Territories. A lot of issues will be debated, such as : What role in innovation at the local and regional levels (and their links)? Which meanings and visions of the mountain are at issue in the light of change? And what kind of territories emerge from these transitions?

More information and registration :

ALPARC is strengthening its work along the lines of “regional development and quality of life”. Last October, within the framework of the Innovalps project, and in close collaboration with the national federations of natural parks of France, Austria and Switzerland, the network selected three pilot regions: the Tiroler Lech natural park in Austria, the Baronnies Provençales regional natural park in the South of France and the Pfyn-Finges regional natural park in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. All three are characterised by a strategy of integrated development and particularly innovative projects, yet their regions are structurally very different.

The InnovAlps project analyses and highlights innovative approaches to regional development in the Alpine protected areas and their regions. The aim of the project is to promote the exchange of experiences between the protected areas with respect to innovation and regional development and to develop recommendations for other regions. What form can innovation in the protected areas take? How can new ideas be developed? How can other players be motivated to cooperate? How can successful innovative approaches be perpetuated ? Answers to these questions are expected to result from working with the three pilot regions. ALPARC has been asked to run this project by FOEN, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.

For more information:

Contact :


In close collaboration with :      Réseau parcs français         Réseau parcs swiss    Réseau parcs autrichiens


The Alps offer ideal conditions for nature-based tourism.

Ten criteria according to scientific principles were defined in the recent publication by Dominik Siegrist, Susanne Gessner and Lea Ketterer Bonnelame.

The purpose of the 10 scientific criteria laid down by the writers is to help tourism industry professionals and destinations to respond better to demand and improve standards of quality. They include the protection of nature, landscape maintenance or environmental education.

Dominik Siegrist reminds us of the many examples of nature-based tourism that already exist in the Alps, such as the “climbing villages” of Austria, those certified villages which have chosen the path of sustainable tourism in line with tradition. He calls on political leaders to face up to their responsibilities by adapting regulatory conditions. This idea has won support in Germany: the two villages of Ramsau and Hinterstein are due to receive this seal of approval soon. Involvement and motivation on the part of the population have been vital in the procedure of approval, one of the criteria set out by the writers.

Incidentally, the HSR Hochschule für Technik Rapperswill is organising a congress on the subject on 10th June 2015 under the title “Savouring Nature instead of Event Burnout”


Source : CIPRA International, and additional information : (de), Siegrist, D., Gessner, S., Ketterer Bonnelame, L. (2015). Naturnaher Tourismus. Qualitätsstandards für sanftes Reisen in den Alpen. Bristol-Schriftenreihe 44. Bern. (de)

Published in News from the Alps