Stelvio National Park
The Stelvio National Park (Nationalpark Stilfser Joch), was established in 1935, with a special law of the State that put under protection 96,000 hectares. In 1977 the park was expanded until it reached its current extension. This park, which is one of the oldest Italian natural parks, was established with the aim of protecting the flora, fauna and integrity of the landscape of the Ortles-Cevedale mountain group, and promoting the development of sustainable tourism in the alpine valleys of Lombardy. , Trentino and Alto Adige.
The Stelvio National Park is the largest of the Italian historical parks, still the largest of the Alpine Arch and occupies most of the territory of the high Valtellina. The vast protected territory covers an area of 134,620 hectares, touching three regions: Lombardy, Trentino, Alto Adige and bordering to the north with the Swiss National Park and to the south with the Regional Park of Adamello.
At the beginning the Stelvio National Park was entrusted to the management of the State Company for the State Forests and the State Forestry Corps. Since 1995, for about twenty years, it has been administered by a consortium between the State, the Lombardy Region and the two autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano. Subsequently with the entry into force of the legislative decree 13 January 2016, n. 14, the consortium was abolished and the administrative functions, for the territory of their respective competence, were assigned to the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano and to the Lombardy Region, which manages the Lombard area through the Ersaf / Regional Authority for the Services for Agriculture and Forests.
For about three quarters its territory is above 2000 meters and reaches a maximum of 3.905 m on the top of the Ortles.
The park, due to its high altitudes, is characterized by a succession of impervious peaks and vast glacial surfaces. The Ortles-Cevedale group, on the border between Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige, constitutes its geographical heart.
From a vegetational point of view, the valley bottom areas are characterized by the presence of meadows while the slopes are dominated by coniferous woods; more at altitude you reach the alpine prairie which, with the increase in altitude, becomes increasingly discontinuous to give way to those species that grow, as isolated specimens, even at very high altitudes, where, despite the adverse weather conditions, many plants can survive even over 3,000 m altitude. Inside the Park there are also particular environments such as peat bogs: these are wetlands characterized by a highly specialized flora such as Drosera rotundifolia and Pinguicula alpina, small carnivorous plants, which compensate for the nitrogen deficiency of the soil by catching small insects, or rare Paludella squarrosa, a bryophyte with a circumpolar-arctic distribution, present in few Alpine stations between Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige.
The fauna that counts, only among the vertebrates, over 260 species is very interesting. In the Park’s great wealth of fauna it is important the presence of large birds of prey (golden eagle and bearded vulture), the rich populations of ungulates (especially deer and ibex) and the presence of many species typical of mountain habitats (alpine galliformes, marmots, white hares, ermine, etc.). to these are added the countless species of invertebrates that also live, sometimes, in extreme conditions.
But the Stelvio National Park is also rich in history. We remember that during the First World War the western extremity of the combat front was here. Of those tragic facts – fighting more than survival to the very difficult environmental conditions that against men – many traces still survive today, especially in the Valle del Braulio and the Stelvio Pass, in the Valle dei Forni and in the Valle di Gavia. Military roads and mule tracks, trenches and military villages are still today a testimony of the events of the “White War”.