The Green Belt of Vitoria-Gasteiz - Technical Information
The Green Belt, with its great natural and landscape beauty, situated on the very edge of the city, is an ideal space for the inhabitants of Vitoria-Gasteiz to pursue leisure activities and, at the same time, to make them aware of the serious problems faced by nature. For this reason, since the beginning, one of the main priorities of the Green Belt has been to pay special attention to the social aspects of the project and to prepare a space for citizens to pursue activities of all kinds: leisure, sport, education and training activities, etc.
In order to facilitate the use of the Green Belt by the public, these parks have been equipped with appropriate signposting and an extensive network of itineraries has been created. Areas for sitting and resting have been created, and the parks have been provided with a wide range of environmental installations for the reception and information of visitors as well as providing support for the large number of educational and training activities available to visitors to the Green Belt.
Management of the public use
When defining the most appropriate management strategy for the Green Belt, it is necessary to take into consideration that periurban parks have a two-sided relationship with their visitors. Excessive use of more vulnerable areas should be avoided, therefore. However, at the same time, an influx of visitors is the best way of avoiding aggressive use of the environment, such as illegal dumping of waste and other materials.
In their management, the underlying idea is to make the conservation of natural values effectively compatible with the influx of people and the use made by the public of these spaces. In this sense, the Green Belt has been designed to provide each space with the necessary infrastructures to encourage its use by the public but, at the same time, the aim has been to restrict such use in especially sensitive areas.
The network of tracks, which are out of bounds to all but expressly authorised motor vehicles, is of special interest in this regard. The itineraries and sitting areas for visitors have been placed as far away as possible from more sensitive areas. In one case, it was decided to restrict access to visitors to one of the areas in the park, namely a 70-hectare area of the lake in the Arcaute are of Salburua, as this was considered incompatible with the conservation of the natural values of this area.
The task of controlling the use of the Green Belt by the public is the responsibility of the park ranger service, which is also responsible for monitoring the ecological and landscape development of the different spaces. This service is, without doubt, of great use for the technical management of the Green Belt.
In addition to the park ranger service, the work of educating and informing the public about the Green Belt is carried out through a wide range of different channels such as the media, Internet, publications and on-site information available in the parks.
Every year, an extensive programme of educational and training activities designed for schoolchildren and the general public is developed in order to provide information on the parks of the Green Belt and to make people aware of the need for its conservation. There are several environmental installations available for pursuing these activities, including the Salburua Wetlands Interpretation Centre, "Ataria".
- Today, there are more than 47 km of pedestrian and bicycle itineraries throughout the Green Belt.
- In 2010 the Green Belt was visited by 615,000 people.
- 32,700 people took part in the educational and environmental awareness activities that took place during 2010 in the Green Belt.
Scientific research is one of the fundamental pillars on which the monitoring and management of the parks of the Green Belt are based. The range of subjects dealt with over these years is extensive.
These studies pursue a range of different objectives:
- Gain a better knowledge of the biodiversity associated with the Green Belt.
- Establish management and maintenance procedures that respect the conservation of the natural values of the different parks.
- Provide arguments in favour of the protection of spaces of special environmental value.
- Promote scientific research as just one more of the activities pursued in these spaces.
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