A national Park is a territory which, due to its biological diversity, scenic beauty, cultural interest, and historically preserved character, warrants a form of protection and management that guarantees the survival of its exceptional heritage. It is managed by a public body overseen by the ministry of Ecology.
Created in 1970, the Cévennes National Park is the only National Park ont he french mainland where the "heart" of the Park is inhabited year-round. The Geography and history of this complex territory give it a very strong identity.
The "heart zone" is the jewel of the Park, an exceptional territory that must be preserved for future generations. here specific regulations apply ( the environmental code ), enabling the Park to supervise human activities, limit damage to the environnement, and preserve the outstanding quality of sites.
The "heart" of the Park (1000km²) lies on both sides of the Atlantic-Mediterranean watershed and consists of five geographical entities:
In the East, the siliceous Cévennes, with a climate that, as the altitude decreases, is increasingly Mediterranean:
the Gardons river valleys cut into the schist, southern in climate, with the rivers Hérault, Gardons, Cèze and Luech (sweet chestnut groves, sheep and goat farming, bee keeping)
Mont Lozère, a granite massif (highest point of the Park: 1699 m, cattle farming and transhumance of sheepand cattle ( migration to summer pastures)
Mont bougès, a granite and schist massif, with a wooded north slope (highest point 1421m, sheep and cattle farming, forestry)
Mont Aigoual (1565m) schist and granite, heavily wooded ( forestry, transhumance of sheep and cattle)
In the West, the Causse Méjean, a limestone plateau belonging to the Great Causses, which has an Atlantic climate (average height 1000m; sheepfarming)
The Park contains about 11000 spécies of flora and about 2410 species of fauna.
In this Park in which the smallest plot of land has been modified by man, wild boar are still plentiful and the park has reintroduced red deer and roe deer... Birds of prey remain: golden eagles, short-toed eagles and a whole variety of buzzards and falcons animate the parks horizons. Eagle and other owls nest on cliff faces and in the ruins of old farmhouses. The park is patiently trying to reintroduce the griffon vulture in a territory in the Gorges du Tarn and gorges de la Jonte... An attentive, patient visitor will also find birds of the sparrow and crow families and all the little woodland and grassland rodents....What is true of wildlife is also true of flora: some rare species but, above all, an abundant diversity of flowers and trees..."
In 1985, the Park was admitted to the world network of Biosphere Reserves ( under UNESCO's "Man and the biosphere") because of its work in associating protection and developpement in an area where a particular equilibrium between man and nature has been fashioned over centuries.
More recently, in 2011, his territory was listed as a "World Heritage Site". Indeed Unesco encourages the identification, protection, and preservation of the cultural and natural heritage in the world; To be listed as a World Heritage Site, a natural or cultural site must comply with very strict criteria.
To discover the natural and cultural heritage of each massif, you can visit the ecomuseums : they suggest a coherent set of visitor sites and discovery trails.
The National Park is crossed by several linear GR( long distance hiking trails ), like the Stevenson track and the ancient "voie de la Regordane". There are nearly 300 PR ( short hiking/walking ) paths, signposted by local authorities in partnership with the Park.
web site : Parc national des Cévennes
Parc national des Cévennes P.N.C. 6, bis place du palais 48400 Florac Tel : 04 66 49 53 01