Environment and Biodiversity
Pyrénées orientales, France
Gérard Mercier, Veolia Eau
30,000 annually for three years to the Selection Committee at 2005/07/05
Syndicat Mixte du Canigou Grand Site
The Canigou, which dominates the French-Spanish border from its 2,784 meter peak, is one of the highest points of the Pyrenees. An emblematic mountain for Catalan mountain lovers, who can enjoy the most sublime landscapes: the chain of the Pyrenees to the west and the Mediterranean basin to the east. However, this wonderful spectacle was inaccessible to disabled people, a situation that the Canigou Grand Site Syndicate d'Initiative (tourist syndicate) was keen to remedy.
On the Baillestavy site in the border valley of La Llentilla, a mountain path has been developed to cater for disabled people under excellent safety conditions. The organization has purchased three off-road wheelchairs pulled by donkeys to allow people with reduced mobility to discover the high-mountain landscapes hitherto beyond their reach. Finally, a Romanesque chapel built on the site of an old forge dating from the Roman era is being restored, allowing the mountaineers to discover a hitherto neglected element of the local architectural heritage.
Alongside partners working to make mountain spaces accessible to disabled people, the Veolia foundation decided to contribute €40,000 to this fine project, aimed at giving as many people as possible the opportunity to discover the beauties of nature. The idea is to organize special days for disabled people starting from the end of 2005.