Around Easter time it looked as if some parts of Font were to be fenced off for environmental reasons. Obviously there was a big backlash amongs the climbing world and protests were made. We contacted COSIROC (Comité de Défense des Sites et Rochers d´Escalade) to find out what the current status is. COSIROC was born in Paris in 1962 out of a concern to protect the environmental heritage of France. The stated goal of its existence was to coordinate the actions undertaken by certain major associations. At the present time twelve such associations fall under its aegis, including the French Federation for Mountaineering and Rock Climbing (FFME), the French Alpine Club (CAF), as well as other sporting and ecological associations. (Definition from http://www.ffme.fr/cosiroc/).The response we got, which is detailed on their website looks like good news and is reproduced below: A very recent geological report about the stability of sandstone boulders and risk of boulder fall (and crash) in the Dame Jouanne massif (Larchant, southern part of the Bleau area) concludes in stating the existence of several restricted zones which do exhibit a real hazard.This reports in an ´umbrella´ reaction of the French local administrations which would consist in fencing and forbidding public access, not only to the known unsafe areas, but to the whole of the massif, i.e. 15 to 20 times the area of the really dangerous spots.This means that the most beautiful part of the masif would be [have been] closed and forbidden. Unfortunately, this was likely to be enforced without any discussion with the representative commission which comprises the ONF (Office National des Forêts) who has the administrative power of the landowner (the massif is now property of the State), the COSIROC which represents the climbers and the FFRP (Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre) which represents trekkers and hikers.Therefore COSIROC and other associations energically protested against this possible total fencing of the site instead of the reasonable solution (approved by COSIROC) which consists in closing only the really dangerous parts.At the date of April 10th, it appears that protestations have been considered since the new prefectoral intention is now only to symbolically fence a dozen of the really dangerous areas (agreed by COSIROC), to create a stable footpath adapted to average tourists and to adapt parking areas in order to discourage going in dangerous areas.We´ll let you know if the situation develops.
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