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Faial ,  June 21, 2018

Access rules promote active management of protected areas in the Azores

The Regional Director for the Environment stressed this morning the importance of implementing access rules and limiting the number of visitors in certain protected areas. Hence, it will ensure a quality management in the most sensitive areas and their monitoring in favour of an "active conservation of natural heritage that does not exclude their use." The four ordinances establishing these rules were published yesterday and today in the Official Journal and enter into force on July 1.
Hernâni Jorge spoke in the village of Capelo in the context of a visit to the works for the installation of marks in Capelinhos Volcano trail. It will have a maximum limit of 80 visitors per day, according to the regulation published today.
"The implementation of this regulation concerns the natural difficulties of access to a natural area such as the Capelinhos Volcano and the risks associated with the instability of some of its slopes, exposed to adverse weather conditions and high erosion rates. These characteristics impose the need to regulate the access of visitors, ensuring the proper management of resources and natural value as well as the safety of visitors," explained the government official.
According to the Regional Director, the regulation provides for the mandatory accompaniment by a Natural Park Guide and the establishment of a nature conservation fee to be paid by visitors except residents in the Azores.
Also on Faial Island, the Government introduced an amendment to the access rules for Caldeira Natural Reserve, requiring that a guide with specific training will be in charge of monitoring descents, namely a Guide of Caldeira do Faial. It also establishes a maximum daily limit of 40 visitors and the application of the aforementioned nature conservation fee.
On the occasion, Hernâni Jorge also mentioned two ordinances published yesterday establishing the access rules for Praia Islet on Graciosa Island and Vila Franca do Campo Islet on São Miguel Island.
In both cases, access is subject to the payment of a nature conservation fee, with the exception of visitors residing in the Azores.
The regulation on the access to Praia da Vitória Islet defines a visiting trail on the east area and restricts visits in the period between July 1 and April 15, with a daily maximum of 20 visitors. Visits take place twice a week between July and November 15 and five days a week between November 16 and April 15. Groups are required to be accompanied by a Natural Park Guide and a Nature Watcher.
As for Vila Franca do Campo Islet, the Regional Director emphasised the importance of "disciplining recreational activities, especially bathing, and promoting the development of other environmental and tourism activities compatible with the preservation of existing natural values."
The regulation for this area establishes a daily limit of 400 people, with a maximum of 200 visitors simultaneously, during the bathing season from June 1 to October 14. It will also allow visits to the protected area in the period between October 15 and April 15, which must be accompanied by a Natural park Guide. These visits are limited to a maximum of 160 people per day, with a maximum of 40 visitors simultaneously.
Hernâni Jorge took the opportunity to recall "the implementation of a new management model in Caldeira Velha Natural Monument, the amendments introduced to the Regulation on the Access to Pico Mountain Natural Reserve as well as the new traffic rules on the access of motor vehicles to the streets of Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo and on the section of the trail between Fajã dos Cubres and Fajã da Caldeira de Santo Cristo." According to him, all these processes "have been developed in close collaboration with partners under CRADS - Regional Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development.
The Regional Director also said that the "adoption of these measures is only possible due to the training of more than two hundred Natural Park Guides on all islands in the last few years, who are perfectly capable of accompanying groups to the visits in protected areas."


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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