HEALTH AND PROTECTED AREAS A Path Accessible to All
NATURAL PARK FUENTES CARRIONAS Y FUENTE COBRE-MONTAÑA PALENTINA
PROVINCE OF PALENCIA, CASTILLA Y LEÓN
Healthy walks for everybody in a natural
park, especially people with disabilities
This project has brought together actors in the environmental and social fields in the region of Castilla y Leon, to provide opportunities for people with physical disabilities or mental impairments to access nature and improve their health.
It has provided opportunities to demonstrate the social benefits of protected areas, enhanced the well-
This activity is part of a programme supported by the government of Castilla y Leon to promote natural parks. This “Health and Parks” theme is quite new, and is related to other social programmes oriented towards older people such as “Programme Golden Spaces”, which was created in 1991 with the “Club of the 60s” and which currently has more than 150 members. This programme is a
being of people with disabilities and brought social and economic benefits to the communities where the activities take place.
joint effort involving the participation of several regional administrations (Environment and Family Affairs). It is therefore an opportunity to raise the profile of the benefits of protected areas to society, involving not only the environment departments but also the social ones.
The activity offered at Fuentes Carrionas is a joint collaboration between the park and the association Pandetrave, a sports association working at regional level and affiliated to the Spanish Federation. They promote mountain sports and nature, with the main purpose of facilitating their practice by people with sensory, physical or intellectual impairments, with certain activities assisted by specialized volunteers, and values such as solidarity, effort and personal development being promoted.
Members of the park staff, particularly guides and instructors from the Centre for Interpretation, have found this to be an extra incentive to their daily work, coordinating efforts with the association’s volunteers and guides. It also supports local jobs through, for example, the hiring of local transport and purchase of local food.
This project was included as part of the first report on this issue in Spain, with the collaboration of EUROPARC Spain, enhancing the promotion at regional and national level, and inspiring other protected areas to develop similar projects.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT
The specific activity is an excursion along a path with the guide and the disabled participant connected by a rod. Interpretation of cultural and natural features is provided along an eight kilometre path. The walk includes a picnic with local food and fresh fruit.
Participation is with groups of up to 40 people with mental impairments, physical disability, blindness, or deafness. These people belong to mountain associations and the Spanish Confederation of People with Disabilities and are aged between 8 and 65. The activity takes five hours in total. The day before the event, the association and the park offer a short talk at the visitor centre in the village where local people are invited to know more about the values of the park and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
This project illustrated cooperation between public administrations (administration of the park) and civil society. Each partner provided their resources, and it was also supported
Date of Publication: May 2014 Case studies published with assistance from
• Opportunity to work together (Park
• Opportunity to highlight the social benefits
of protected areas
• Opportunity to strengthen family and social
• Opportunity to develop personal
independence of people with disabilities
• Opportunity for local economic
development linked to the production and
marketing of local products
• Strengthening the role of the visitor centres
as multipurpose community centres and
Enjoy the Senda del Oso
by a project funded by a public foundation (Fundacion Patrimonio Natural of Castilla y León, Fundacion Biodiversidad).
The target group were people with some physical disabilities and intellectual impairments. They gained health benefits through physical activity in a natural environment, whilst self esteem and emotional intelligence of the individual is also promoted. The activity provides cardiovascular and muscular benefits, and also sensory benefits: auditory, olfactory and visual enjoyment through the songs and sounds of wildlife, vegetation smells, panoramic views, as well as stimuli such as temperature changes along the route.
http://www.patrimonionatural.org/ ver_proyecto.php?s_titulo=salud&id_ proyecto=78