ORIGIN OF THE PROJECT/IDENTIFIED PROBLEMS
The High Gesso Valley and the High Roja Valley, today “divided” by the Italy/France border, are deeply united by the common history: both were part of the unique “Cuneo Region” (Italy), from which inherited the “Exclusive fish rights” until nowadays. The exclusive recreational fishing in this area, done by few wealthy elected, finds evidence in the historical archive of both the municipalities of Valdieri and Tenda in a variety of documents since the XV century. A practice that has its peak during the Savoia kingdom until the end of the World War 2; the Savoia line had frequented for over 150 years this area practicing the angling and the hunting, with a passion and an attachment witnessed by many documents (available at the “Savoia Family Archive”, stored at the State Archive of Rome) and fully embodied by the Queen Elena, portrayed many times fishing on the river with great nobility and femininity.
The municipalities of Valdieri and Tenda got the challenge of an exclusive fishing rights management giving it to two very dynamic and motivate associations that want to receive an international fish tourism, qualitative from Europe and from outside of Europe, looking for natural environments and wild, evocative and quiet. The two associations are: the fish reserve on the Gesso Stream called “Il Gesso della Regina – Fly Fishing Valdieri” (since 2010) and the fish reserve on the Roja Stream headed by the “Societé del Peche de Tende”, a Tenda municipality association (since 1888). It is important to know that this associations, even if are not in the partnership of the project, will be directly involved taking part to the steering committee activities.
Promoting an international fishing tourism in this area means to face some specific problems:
- first of all the integrity and the naturalness of the water bodies that many times have to deal with works of river fragmentations (weirs and dams), loss of habitat reducing both the quality and the functionality of the ecosystems and the presence of fish. The latest anglers are very demanding and careful with the quality and the naturalness of the aquatic ecosystem where they want to fish;
- the fish resources have to be managed with great caution and utilized in a sustainable way for the natural populations. In order to prevent potential genetic pollution risks or rusticity loss, the preferable way to improve the natural populations is to use native materials of the valley productions to allocate to the water bodies restocking, but today it is not available any local facilities to realize this production;
- the access to the fishing spots is often difficult because there are not information about the fishing permits and the local regulations, and because there are not any information about the walkable river stretches, with accesses signs, notice boards and the eventual possibility to have a guide;
- the scarce knowledge of the potentialities and of the fishing tourism offers to be proposed to local, national and international levels;
- the difficulty to match the fishing tourism to the “tout court” tourism, addressed to the discovering of the cultural-historical, naturalistic or wine and food goods;
- the lack of promotion and specific communication, at different levels, and with the information technology instruments available nowadays.
SCOPE OF INTERVENTION
The project faces the challenge of the launch of a diversify tourism offer and not seasonal in the Roya (FR) and Gesso (IT) valley, throughout the promotion of the recreational fishing. The goal of the project is a eco-aware and sustainable fishing tourism, integrated with the local tourism services and coherent with the policies of natural resources enhancement and local cultural. The foreseen change is about: the increase and the not-seasonal only mountain tourism, the ecological requalification. With the project: it will be realized new equipped fish itineraries and ecological requalification interventions; it will start and optimize the local fish production for restocking; it will be integrated into a system the new tourist offer in the existent production chain. The beneficiaries are the anglers, the hospitality of the tourism system and of the restaurants, the local authority, the tourists and the population.
The adopted method is multidisciplinary and hands-on, both of direct intervention on the environment, both of formation, communication and promotion, information and sharing with the locals stakeholder. The cross-border approach Tenda/Valdieri, allows the two municipalities to carry out a common path of growth, the added value originates from the common territorial peculiarity and from the fishing. New and authentic elements are in the project targets: a new tourism of quality, not seasonal only and of eco friendly and eco informed fishing.
The High Gesso Valley and the High Roya Valley are already interested by a mountain tourism. It is deeply influenced by the seasonality of the usage; revealing peaks of presence during narrow periods, linked to the winter sports, particularly to the ski, and to the summer hiking. The cross-border territory of interest includes an historical and many-centuried recreational fishing tradition practiced on the ample waters of the interested municipalities, that own the exclusive fishing rights, that finds in the figure of the Savoia Queen Elena, regular of this waters, the icon of a polite form, respectful and passionate of recreational fishing practice, still typical today in the local angling associations. The chance for an international quality fishing tourism is offered by the huge available resources: the aquatic environments richness placed in high suggestion landscapes, the presence of Salmonids populations of faunal value, the presence of strongly dynamic and motivate fishing associations (reserve “Il Gesso della Regina – Fly Fishing Valdieri”, “Societé del Peche de Tende” and FIPSAS). The main expressed needs in this sphere are:
- the relaunch of the territory releasing it from the seasonality, enhancing environmental sections and resources not sufficiently considered and used yet;
- the creation of a tourist offer based on eco-friendly principles and on the ecological and environmental requalification;
- a local socio-economic development, linked to this new venture, that positively helps the impact to other socio-cultural sectors, naturalistic and food-wine and creating new job opportunities.