With plunging valleys, wending rivers, acres of wild meadows and the vast Adula Mountain as its crowning glory, the mostly untouched Adula Park in eastern Switzerland has all the hallmarks of a national park, but it will have to wait until Sunday to see if it can officially be granted the status of one.
For that to happen, the park requires at least 13 of the 17 surrounding communes to vote in favour of the motion during a referendum. If successful, Adula Park will become the nation’s second protected nature reserve after the Swiss National Park in the Engadine.
Extending from the southern section of the Vorderrhein Valley to the Blenio Valley in Ticino, Adula Park covers around 1000 sq km. Some 16,000 people live in or around the park itself, but much of it remains unaffected by human intrusion. Although the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment initially approved the area’s application to become a national park back in 2010, the decision will still go to a public vote next weekend.
The vote is expected to be close as farmers and hunters who use the area are likely to argue that national park status will limit their activities across the park. Currently, the park offers a number of themed trails, pretty mountainside villages and hiking routes.