20th Anniversary of the Porto Conte Nature Reserve
Twenty years have passed since 26 February, 1999 – the date on which the Sardinian Regional Council approved, with Law No. 4, the establishment of the Porto Conte Regional Nature Reserve, the island’s first protected area. “Twenty years of protecting and enhancing a unique, special environment. 5,000 hectares to be experienced and described, in this corner of paradise between land and sea.” This was the phrase chosen to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Porto Conte Regional Nature Reserve, which was officially celebrated on Tuesday, 9th April, at the Civic Theatre in Alghero. This spectacular evening also served as an opportunity to reflect upon the major environmental themes and on the role that protected areas are called upon to play in order to safeguard the health of Planet Earth. Time was set aside during the evening to give an account of what has been achieved over these past twenty years.
Today, the Porto Conte Nature Reserve is a significant feature of the Sardinian landscape as a whole, not just that of Alghero. Thanks to the painstaking commitment of the reserve’s management team, it is also contributing to the island’s economic growth and development. Today, Porto Conte is a natural asset in rude health, with excellent prospects vis-à-vis the delivery of economically sustainable enhancement.
Over these twenty years, a great deal has been done both in terms of the safeguarding of the habitats and protected species, and in terms of the promotion and positive exploitation of the territory and its typical products, with the introduction of the certification of environmental quality for the businesses operating within the nature reserve and the creation of a virtuous circuit that contributes to raising the quality of the offering of natural, cultural and tourism services throughout the city of Alghero and its surrounding province. Over the past twenty years, the Porto Conte Nature Reserve has worked to consolidate its headquarters in the prestigious venue of Tramariglio, a one-time penal colony where museum and educational facilities have now been installed. These facilities, which are proving highly popular with visitors, include the multimedia museum of prison memory, the interactive centres on the Little Prince and the Capo Caccia Marine Protected Area, the permanent exhibition of the works of master artist Elio Pulli, the botanical garden and the teaching workshops on the life of bees, geomining and renewable energies. A great deal of work has also been done in terms of environmental education – with more than 12,000 students visiting the nature reserve every year – accessibility and the regeneration of historical and monumental assets. There has also been a focus on the human history of this area, thanks to the immense effort made to compile the history of the 5,000 or so detainees who passed through the penal colony of Tramariglio. In addition, time and money have been invested in the overhaul of the nature trails within the Porto Conte woodlands, the Punta Giglio promontory, the Calich lagoon and the hillsides of Monte Doglia. Other important milestones reached have included the establishment of the nature reserve’s emporium, the guest house and the Fertilia infopoint. Work is now at an advanced stage on the first ecostello (environmentally sustainable accommodation) in Porticciolo.
Returning to the evening’s events, the music show featuring Ambra Pintore proved particularly popular. Also very well-received was the contribution from the painter Elio Pulli, an illustrious endorser of the Porto Conte Nature Reserve, who gave a “live” painting demonstration, accompanied by Stefano Salvatori, a pianist from Milan’s La Scala, and by the ballerinas of the Thevida group, run by the choreographer and director Max Campagnani.
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