ALPARC is one of our IE Partners – find out more about the Alpine Network of Protected Areas

ALPARC, the Alpine Network of Protected Areas, gathers all categories of protected areas of a large size within the Alpine Convention area. Since 1995, it permits an intensive exchange between managers and technical staff of the alpine parks, nature reserves, biosphere reserves, tranquility zones and many other kinds of protection, and also with organisations and institutions of nature protection, local actors, populations and scientists.

In 2016, 923 large protected areas (over 100 ha) were identified in the Alpine area, which together cover about 30% of the Alpine space (Alpine Convention area). This includes:
13 National parks
96 Regional/ Nature parks
263 Nature reserves
13 Biosphere reserves
4 UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites
11 Geoparks
534 other kinds of protected areas (of various status, which sometimes overlap existing protected areas)

The main goal of ALPARC is the concrete application of the protocol of the Alpine Convention: ‘Nature conservation and landscape management’. The signatory countries of this international treaty are Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Principality of Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland.

The aim of ALPARC is to promote the exchange of expertise, techniques and methods among the staff of Alpine protected areas.
The association initializes and facilitates realizing common projects among the Alpine protected areas and performs their international coordination that a single protected area couldn’t afford.

The work falls under the following three main headings:

  • Biodiversity and ecological connectivity
  • Regional development and quality of life
  • Mountain environmental education and youth

The main works headings contribute to face global problems, such as climate change, biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and to raise awareness among the public, in particular the youth, about the environmental challenges in a global context. ALPARC’s main activities focus on the following sectors: services, projects and events.

Projects and activities in the field of Mountain environmental education and youth
ALPARC gathers staff in charge of education in Alpine protected areas within a working group created in 2008 and dedicated to the topic of Mountain Education, to support the exchange of experiences, know-how and best practices and also the development of joint activities and projects.
At the occasion of the last workshop of this working group, which took place in October 2016 in the Mercantour National Park (France), we had the chance to welcome Markus Blank and to benefit from a presentation and an outdoor session dedicated to Nature Interpretation, which was very much appreciated by all participants. This was the occasion for most of them to learn also about Interpret Europe.

The main current or starting activities of this work field are manifold:

  • Youth at the Top initiative: every summer on the same day, young people meet in several protected areas and natural sites simultaneously throughout the Alps and Carpathians in order to share a physical, human, cultural and artistic collective experience in the mountains (2 days, 1 night). The event aims to heighten young people’s awareness of mountains and their natural and cultural environment; to help them to feel connected to mountains through feeling, observing, playing, encountering, imagining, dreaming or self-expression. Have a look at the video clip of 2016 at and pictures of past events at
  • The Alps in my backpack: this joint pedagogical tool developed by the working group consists of a map of the Alps and their protected areas printed on a large fabric sheet that can easily be folded and transported in the field. It aims to enrich any animation with a more international, alpine, approach to open minds and awake curiosity about the Alpine area in its whole. It will be tested in the field during the 2017 season and completed step-by-step to result in a joint collection of free resources for download at
  • YOUrALPS: ‘Educating Youth for the Alps: (re)connecting Youth and Mountain heritage for an inspiring future in the Alps’ is an Interreg Alpine Space project developed by ALPARC, as Lead Partner, taking up the challenge in reinforcing mountain education and making young people more aware of the natural heritage and culture of the Alps in a durable way.
  • GaYA: ‘Governance and Youth in the Alps’ is also an Interreg Alpine Space project, running from 2016 to 2018, in which ALPARC is a Partner. Partners will unite their forces and skills to develop the governance of young people in the Alpine space. Urban and rural sites will be supported to encourage the participation of groups of young people in order to contribute to reinforcing the capacities of political decision-makers to involve the young, as citizens,  in the decision making process. Find out more about the two Interreg Alpine Space projects here:

ALPARC is looking forward to perhaps finding ways of cooperation with Interpret Europe in the future!

You can find out more about ALPARC from the website: and from the Facebook page:

Your contact for the topic of Mountain education is Marie Stockel. She can be contacted at:

Le Reseau Alpin des Espaces Proteges
La Rete delle Aree Protette Alpine
Das Netzwerk Alpiner Schutzgebiete
Mreža zavarovanih območij v Alpah
The Alpine Network of Protected Areas

To cite this article:
Stoeckel, M. (2016) ‘Introducing ALPARC’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 4-2016, 22

Available online: