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Protection of the Black Grouse

The resort and municipality of Les Gets are actively involved in the Biodiversity Observatory set up by 7 French ski resorts in the Portes du Soleil. The objective is to reconcile the practice of tourism with the preservation of our natural heritage.

As part of this initiative, the ski area and municipality in Les Gets are jointly committed to protecting the Black Grouse, one of the Alps iconic bird species.

The Loëx plateau, a protected natural area with restricted access

The Loëx plateau is a superb natural area, both in terms of landscape and biology. The NATURA 2000 classified site concerns 3 communes, Les Gets, Taninges and Verchaix and covers an area of 1233 ha.

In order to preserve it, the prefectoral decree of protection of biotope taken in 1994 has for objective the protection of the natural environments necessary for the feeding, the reproduction, the rest or the survival of the protected animal or vegetable species. To this end, access to the black grouse enhanced protection zone is prohibited from 1 January to 15 May and during the snowy season.

Keep the disturbance to a minimum

The black grouse’s winter survival depends on it saving energy, which is vital at this time of year due to the freezing cold and limited resources available to it: tree needles, buds and sprouts. The black grouse is particularly affected when disturbed because it cannot make up for the energy lost when it leaves its igloo in a hurry when an off-piste skier or snow-shoe hiker goes by.

A host of initiatives have been implemented on Mont-Chéry and in the Ranfoilly area to protect this bird species.

  • The black grouse’s wintering areas are now indicated along with information boards in order to reduce the disturbance that can be caused by off-piste skiers and can be fatal for the black grouse.
  • During the summer, certain mountain pasture areas will be cleared and maintained (31.60 hectares in 2018 and 2019, the equivalent of  45 football pitches) to make these areas accessible to black grouse for their reproduction (egg-laying and feeding of the young).
  • The visibility of the cables of the Ranfoilly chairlift  has been improved by installing bird diverters and avoid collisions that can be deadly for some birds. In 2019, further cables will be equipped with floats.