Val Grande National Park, created to protect a precious area that is trying to preserve its wild, enclosed nature between the Ossola mountains, the Lake Maggiore basin and the Cannobina Valley. We are in Piedmont and we are about to visit an interesting and little known park, with rich flora and fauna but difficult to recognize without a good guide. And a good read in preparation for the visit.
Val Grande National Park, Piedmont
The Val Grande National Park is a protected natural area that falls completely within the province of Verbano Cusio Ossola. Established in 1992, it was expanded in 1998 and is managed by the Val Grande National Park Authority, based in Vogogna.
In this park there are some even less known nature reserves than Park itself, for years they have silently played an important role in safeguarding Italian and European biodiversity. I'm talking about the Val Grande Nature Reserve and Mount Mottac Nature Reserve, both dating back to 1971. The area that we can explore by visiting the Val Grande National Park is that enclosed between the Val Grande, the lateral Val Pogallo is the Vigezzo, Cannobina, Ossola and Intrasca valleys.
P.National Arch of Val Grande: video
The first time that the idea of protecting this territory arose came back in 1953, which has always, for centuries, been inhabited by shepherds and woodcutters which managed to coexist with discreet harmony with existing nature. After the Second World War, there was an abandonment of the valleys by woodcutters and mountaineers who left the forest to indulge themselves and take possession of the surface which today belongs to the Val Grande National Park.
That is why it still retains today a wild nature and an impervious aspect which make it not perhaps unique but certainly original, even from an international perspective. In the dedicated video, we can see what the park offers today, imagining what it was and what it will be.
Val Grande National Park: itineraries
As this is an area left wild and guarded as such, that of Val Grande National Park it is an area in which not to venture, letting oneself be guided only by the spirit of initiative or adventure, and not even by pure curiosity.
They are needed, let's put them in the backpack, but together with one guide of the trails, taking care to choose those that are feasible according to our physical condition and our experience. It takes a lot of prudence and, if you really want to travel a special path, you can rely on an expert guide, the Park gladly makes them available.
Having made these recommendations, I can give space to the variety of proposals regarding nature trails, for those who are "just starting out" but also for the most experienced and trained, everyone can always count on information panels with images and texts that explain landscapes, animal and tree species that meet from time to time. Among proposed itineraries, available on the official website of the park, I recommend two.
The first, "In the shade of the fir trees", It is simple and safe, it lasts an hour and a half and everyone can take it. It starts from Cappella Porta and tackling a total difference in height of less than 600 meters you reach the Rifugio del Pian Cavallone.
While walking along it, you can and must admire the nature you pass through, the view from above of the Po Valley and the Varese lakes, Lake Maggiore, and then of the Grigne and Monte Generoso. In the distance, even the Monte Rosa. The most trained and willing can also choose the "Man-tree" path by walking for at least 3 hours from basin of Ompio, up to top of Mount Faiè, enjoying incredible evocative views that deserve the effort of a net difference in height of 355 meters.
Val Grande National Park: map
Between paths and panoramas, it is necessary to take a look at the map of this one Val Grande National Park to get an idea. The area is not extensive but actually few know the real and specific morphology of valleys that stand between known places but remain wild and neglected.
Val Grande National Park: flora and fauna
To be sure it is worth a visit Val Grande National Park and to take safe but little traveled paths, here are some hints to the flora and fauna that we can find on our way. Flowering is magical in such a sparsely inhabited area that shows a variety of vegetation that can be represented at altitudes.
Below we find to reign the mixed deciduous woods, the tyrants are the beeches who leave room for other colleagues, such as al beautiful spruce and silver fir. Going up in altitude, we encounter shrubs such as green alder and a rich undergrowth consisting mainly of ferns and mosses, further up the rhododendron and blueberry take over.
Who reaches a top of those present in the Val Grande National Park can travel a few meters in the alpine meadows: this is the kingdom ofmountain arnica, of the alpine tulip e the eriophores also bloom in white.
Moving on from the plant world to the animal world, we shift our attention to some species of European interest that find in the wilderness of the area an excellent place to resist the anthropization of northern Italy. Among the birds there are'Golden Eagle, the peregrine falcon and the eagle owl but also some peaks, first of all the black one. The most present herbivores are the chamois and the roe deer, the most significant carnivores are instead the fox, the beech marten, the weasel and the rate.
In the numerous but never great streams that cross the valleys, they swim unaware of everything, or almost, the brown trout and the bullhead, together with numerous macroinvertebrates. In the air we can glance at the dipper and the yellow ballerina. Nostalgic ending, dedicated to species now extinct, hoping not to have to extend the list: the wolf, the bear, the lynx and the otter, the wild cat and the skunk. For now, so far, but for some we can think of a return in the future.
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