Of the 1600 nature protection areas in Switzerland, the National Park in the Engadine is the most strictly protected.
Here the natural environment is left to develop without any human interference.Though Switzerland played a pioneer role in establishing the first national park in central Europe, it is today – with only one national park – lagging behind on the international front.
In recent years things have begun moving within the domain of parks and protected areas in Switzerland. Based on the Federal Act on the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage, the Federal Office for the Environment supports the establishment of new large protection areas.
Requirements for a park
High nature and landscape values are a fundamental requirement for any park that is to be granted financial aid or awarded a park label.
There are different types of protection area:
National parks offer intact habitats for indigenous flora and fauna and allow the landscape to evolve naturally. They are divided into a core and a buffer zone.
Regional nature park
A regional nature park is a partly populated rural area, characterized by high nature and landscape values, with buildings and installations that fit harmoniously into the landscape and sites of local character.
Nature discovery park
Nature discovery parks are near-natural areas close to densely populated areas, which allow the urban population to relax and enjoy nature.
The Swiss Parks Network, which was set up in 2007, represents the interests of those protection areas that are members of the association.