Nature: Stelvio National Park
THE STELVIO NATIONAL PARK www.stelviopark.it
The Stelvio National Park covers an area of 134.620 hectares, right in the heart of the Central Alps including the entire Ortles-Cevedale mountain group and its side valleys. This protected area borders with the Swiss National Park in the Engadin to the north and the Adamello Regional Park in the Lombardy region to the south which in turn is directly connected to the nearby Adamello Brenta Nature Park in Trentino.
It is therefore located in a central location within the Alpine mountain chain and it is one of the largest and interesting protected areas in Europe where it is possible to find all of the elements that are typical of alpine mountains: glaciers (Ortles 3905 m), alpine pastures, mountain ledges and down to the bottom of the valley (Laces 650 m). The fact that this national park harmoniously blends unspoilt mountain territories with areas that have been farmed for centuries is what makes it truly unique. The hydrogeologic conditions of the area also add to the unique landscape of this park where you will encounter glacial lakes and bubbling mountain streams.
As far as the park’s wildlife is concerned there are more than 30 species of mammals, 131 species of birds, various types of reptiles and amphibians, several types of fish and numerous invertebrates. The deer and roe deer populations are the most numerous followed by the chamois and the alpine ibex at a higher elevation. In addition to the presence of marmots, squirrels, alpine hares, ermines, pine marten, beech-marten, badgers and foxes. Among the tetraonidae there are capercaillies, black grouse, hazel grouse and at higher altitudes there are other types of galliformes such as the ptarmigan and the rock partridge. Another important part of the Park is the golden eagle, the Park’s symbol, and the bearded vulture which has just recently re-inhabited this area.
In order to totally immerse yourself in this environment there are many clearly marked itineraries to choose from suited for children, the elderly all the way to the most expert climber.
It is also possible to visit the Park while accompanied by the “park’s guides”. These guided visits take place during the entire year, even during the winter season with, of course, snowshoes; there are special packages reserved for school groups with the possibility of staying in accommodation facilities that are located within the Park. In addition to the many naturalistic itineraries there are also numerous possibilities to visit the Park that will allow you to appreciate the historical-cultural-environmental aspects such as a visit to one of the many places that still bear witness as to how people once lived and worked: mountain dairies (malghe), mountain farmsteads (masi), churches, museums in addition to forts, botanical trails and wildlife areas.