Park of Contention
The oldest of the French parks, the Vanoise National Park created in 1963 under the initiative of Gilbert André, experienced a true identity crisis during the campaign to join the Park Charter, back in 2015. While 29 neighboring municipalities (many of which have land located at the center of the park) were eligible to join the membership area, only two voted in favor of it. This represented a real snub from one of the crown jewels of France’s national environmental policy. The reason for this rebuff? Overarching tensions around the renewed presence of wolves in the park, along with conflicts about how its inhabitants should be treated. Because even if environmentalists, tourists and farmers’ interests occasionally align, more often than not they clash. And one of question in particular comes up quite frequently: can good intentions turn paradise into hell?
What follows is a conversation between the men and women of the Vanoise massif, who live between the Tarentaise and Maurienne Valleys in the French Alps, where the opinions of some have a tendency to encroach upon the lives of others.
Text: Eric Carpentier for Les Others