Green Cross Spain in collaboration with the Biodiversity Foundation is developing a project that will look at sports played inside protected nature areas, especially focusing on national parks. The project will also propose preventive measures for sustainable use.
This project is part of Green Cross Spain’s ‘Sports and Sustainability’ programme and builds on the recommendations and issues contained in the 2007 National Strategy on Sports and Sustainability promoted by Green Cross Spain and the Biodiversity Foundation, in collaboration with Spanish High Council for Sports and the Spanish Olympic Committee. One of the elements covered in the strategy is the adequate management and planning of sports in nature areas, especially in protected areas and national parks.
It is for this reason that Green Cross Spain has identified the need to analyse which aspects of sports activity are in need of regulation with regards to natural areas, especially in national parks and protected areas. Furthermore, the issue of how sporting managers, organizations and sportsmen can help conserve these areas by working closely with the managers of the protected zones will be explored.
The importance of addressing sports played in protected areas is further increased with 2010 being the Year of Biodiversity. In Spain alone there are more than 1500 natural protected areas, which are spaces that have been legally given the goal of nature conservation. The total number of protected areas amounts to 6 million terrestrial hectares, which is 11.8% of the Spanish territory, and 25000 marine hectares.
Another important issue addressed by this project is the economic and employment importance of outdoor sports in rural areas, therefore providing an excellent opportunity to contribute to sustainable development
Furthermore, with the aim of knowing how sports are developed in the Spanish National Park Network as well as in other Natural Protected Areas, a Strategic Guidebook is being developed. This Guidebook will be available on the ‘Sports and Sustainability’ website. It will be also updated continuously with new experiences and activities, thus making it a dynamic tool for linking nature managers with sporting companies, active tourism companies, sports federations and organisations and sportsmen.
Director, Green Cross Value Change Programme