With only two exceptions the twenty-nine communes of the Tarentaise and the Maurienne that surround the heart of the Vanoise National Park have voted, ?No? to the new charter. The two commuunes to say ?yes? are Peisey-Nancroix and St Martin de Belleville.
Passions have been running high. The President, the Director and one of the wardens were held against their will for 15 hours in the village of Bramans in the Maurienne by a group of farmes demanding the culling of six wolves. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the presence of wolves and their current protection under European directives criminality should not be condoned.
Out of the ten national parks in France It is the only one to face such problems. It is no coincidence that the Vanoise is surrounded by some of the biggest ski resorts in France; indeed in Europe ( Tignes, Val d’Isere, Les Arcs, La Plagne, Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens). The communes have often felt that the ?development? of their ski resorts has been impeded by the presence of the park. Ultimately it is the power of money with huge financial interests.
It is often stated that the local economy benefits; yes it does however those who benefit most are the shareholders of the huge holding companies such as the Compagnie des Alpes that owns many of the ski lift infrastructure. Many of the jobs are temporary, seasonal ones reinforcing the need to be ?double-hatted? with both a winter and a summer profession. My own experience has shown that the winter and summer clientele are different. Winter clientele are frequently out for the ?buzz? both on and off the slopes. In contrast the summer clientele typically are in search of calm and wanting to discover the natural environment. The typical ski resort in summer is a ?ghost town? open as an ?after-thought? for at most 8 weeks in July and August frequently resembling a building site and the ski paraphenalia looking incongrous in the summer mountain pastures.
What are the effects of this rejection?
In short the central area of the Park (or ?zone coeur?) of 530 sq km is not affected. All the existing regulations will continue as before. The rejection of the charter impacts on the peripheral area of the park (or ?zone d’adhesion?)
The new charter has been already been approved by Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister and Segolene Royale, the Ecology Minister and has entered the ?Journal Officiel? of the French Republic in April of 2015.