Agriculture significantly shapes the parks' landscapes: over a third of the Swiss parks area is still used for this activity. Product certification specifically encourages sustainable agriculture. Also, there are more organic farms in Swiss parks than elsewhere in Switzerland.
Example: Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park
How to develop agricultural production
Alpine and mountain farming are part of the identity of the regional nature park Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut. They are part of its landscapes, traditions, as well as its social and economic life. Farmers are therefore important partners for the park, which strongly supports the development of ecological networks and high quality farming projects.
Agricultural production is at the heart of the producers' work. Even though AOP cheeses and other regional brands are well known, the park label definitely helps marketing park products. Cooperatives and producers have quickly identified the label's potential. Today, over a hundred products coming from 17 park partners representing 160 farms are certified.
Together with the farmers concerned, the Park carried out a situation analysis of the last remaining slaughterhouse on its territory that belongs to the municipality of Château-d'Oex. The parks' team then accompanied the implementation of the proposed measures. A regional cooperative was set up to take over the operations of the slaughterhouse. Its activities could be significantly increased - and would benefit the animals (less transport) as well as shorter sales circuits (regional added value). In another area, the Park, in collaboration with farmers and the school for agricultural , has launched a project to promote the sustainable management of pastures.
François Margot, Director
Example: Swiss National Park
A paradise for animal watching
The Swiss National Park (SNP) was founded over a hundred years ago in order to protect a part of alpine nature and life from human intervention, and for scientific research purposes. This project, originally intended to protect nature, is also an economic success story. In our fast paced, highly stressed society, small bubbles of quiet and genuine experiences in nature become more and more important. 150'000 guests visit the park every year in order to recharge their batteries. The many wildlife-watching possibilities play a key role. Thanks to strict protection rules, animals are now used to people and are a lot less shy. It is therefore possible to walk on paths and observe countless wild animals. Val Trupchun is one of the best spots: as many 400 elks can be seen wandering through open meadows on clear days. The bearded vulture is another highlight. It was released in the national park from 1991 to 2007 and now happily breads there.
Hans Lozza, Communication manager
Any park can award the «Swiss Parks» label to its regional products. Producers thus contribute to achieving the park's objectives. In turn, the park helps them to market and sell their products.
There are now over 1700 certified products produced in 14 parks. A wide range of activities allows visitors to experiment their production as well as the cultural landscapes shaped by the latter.
Families, singles and school classes will all find captivating things to do in the Swiss parks: excursions in alpine landscapes, walks though gentle hills, treks over rugged rocky formations or e-bike tours through blossoming orchards.
The Swiss parks focus on sustainable mobility. They inform the public on access by public transport only and organize all their activities so that they can be reached with public transport. As a result, the Swiss parks were finalists in the 2016 «Tourism for Tomorrow Award», the international prize for sustainable tourism.
Parks make sure that the whole production chain and the resulting added value stays in the park. The local community produces and also consumes their products.
Tourism plays a significant role in contributing to the local added value: studies estimate that each Swiss franc invested from public funds generates 6 francs in economic benefit.