Mont-Blanc Massif: New Protection Rules


Two climbers illegally landing a plane near the Mont-Blanc summit, a tourist abandoning a rowing machine on the Mont-Blanc massif, climbing attempts with small children or pets... It seems there is no shortage of people who bend the rules and disrespect the environment in the Mont-Blanc massif.

During his visit in Haute-Savoie in February 2020, President Macron promised to draw a decree that would better protect the Mont-Blanc massif.

Under the aegis of Secretary of State to the Minister of Ecological Transition and Solidarity Emmanuelle Wargon, elected officials and the administration quietly worked during the confinement, and the protection decree is almost done.

Mont Blanc in summer, the biggest peak of the Alps
View from the summit of Mont Blanc

Restrictions to protect the Mont-Blanc massif

The main actors in the establishment of a protection decree met on 15 June 2020, to discuss the outlines of the regulations that will govern sports practices near the Mont-Blanc summit.

"This decree must allow people to continue to enjoy Mont Blanc, but while respecting the mountain," declared the mayor of Saint-Gervais, Jean-Marc Peillex.

This version of the text provides for the sole authorization of mountaineering, with a maximum of three people per rope, and ski mountaineering on the summit part of Mont Blanc.

Paragliding landings would only be possible with authorization from local authorities when weather conditions are favourable. As a reminder, landing at the top of the Mont-Blanc massif was prohibited for paragliders in the summer of 2019.

On the other hand, there are no restrictions on activities such as hiking or mountain biking.

"The municipality of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, during the preparatory work, has always endeavoured to define a framework for mountain practices, without hampering practices that can be considered traditional", commented the mayor of Chamonix, Eric Fournier, in a press release, welcoming "a significant step which should make it possible to avoid certain excesses".

Minimum age

Certain questions remain unanswered, such as the introduction of minimum age for the ascent of the Mont-Blanc summit.

Jean-Marc Peillex said he was in favour of setting up a "minimum age" below which the child could only go up if accompanied by a professional, but there was no consensus between the participants.

A new consultation must take place on this subject.

Other measures

It is Eric Fournier's firm belief that this protect decree must be supplemented by other measures, such as the revision of air regulations on the Mont-Blanc massif. In this regard, a procedure should begin at the start of 2021.

The mayor of Chamonix believes that the current regulations respond "more to the practices of the 1960s than to sustainable environmental management of the massif".

The final version of the order for the protection of natural habitats should be signed by the prefect before the end of August.

But the mayor of Saint-Gervais wishes that people start applying these measure right away, out of common sense and morality.

Source @France3

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