Navigating the Swiss Parks Website

Creation of a park

From the idea to the actual park
Great ideas notwithstanding, parks do not emerge overnight. Such projects are subjected to a long process.

Federal Office for the environment

Papiermühlestrasse 172
CH-3063 Ittigen


First step: feasibility

Everything starts with a feasibility study: A region must meet several prerequisites in order to become a park, of which the two most important ones are:

  • A high natural and scenic value
  • The inhabitants and local authorities' full commitment to the project

Has feasibility been proven, a provisional supervisory board is founded with the full participation of the local authorities and the inhabitants.

Second step: establishement

During this phase, the provisional supervisory board prepares a Charter together with the population, groups of interest and economy. The Charter, which is a core planning tool, comprises:

  • a 10-year park contract
  • a 10-year management plan 
  • a 4-year plan

The creation phase lasts 4 years for regional parks and nature discovery parks and 8 years for national parks.

The «Candidate» label

Park project supervisory boards can apply for the «Candidate» label to the federal government. To this effect they must provide two essential documents: the management plan and the request for financial support. If the project meets the requirements, it is granted the «Candidate» label as well as a financial support for the establishment phase.

Third step: operation

Finally, the inhabitants vote on the project. Should they accept it, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) verifies whether the Charter meets the requirements and grants the «Park of national importance» label to the newly born park. The label opens the door to the operating phase.

The park then implements many ecological, socio-cultural and economic projects in order to meet the Charter's targets. These activities are reviewed ten years later. If the results are positive, the park can apply for another ten-year operating phase based on a revised Charter and the inhabitant can vote on the new Charter.

The «Park of national importance» label

A park is granted the «Park of national importance» label as soon as it starts its operations. The label is valid for ten years. After that period, the Charta is revised and the inhabitants vote again.