Greece Takes Steps to Create 1st National Trail Network
The Greek Environment Ministry announced this week that it was moving ahead with the creation of Greece’s first National Trail Network inviting local authorities and bodies to submit their proposals by 3pm on March 31, 2023.
“We invite municipal and regional authorities to submit proposals that will benefit local communities,” said Deputy Environment Minister Giorgos Amyras.
The ministry said it would allocate 30 million euros in funding to eligible municipal and regional authorities, the Mt Athos community and other church bodies for the identification, registration and enhancement of the country’s footpaths.
Selected projects which either upgrade of an existing network of footpaths, walking and cycling routes; create new paths, hiking and cycling routes; or create and improve recreational areas in selected parts of a path network will be implemented by the Natural Environment & Climate Change Agency.
Of the announced budget, 20 percent will be channeled into projects submitted by small mountainous, remote or island municipalities, said the ministry. Each unit will be entitled to a maximum of 800,000 euros in funding, reaching up to 1.5 million euros for fire-affected areas.
According to the ministry, the National Trail Network aims to protect biodiversity through a registry of routes. Under the plan, the ministry also hopes to implement an ecotourism development model in untouched natural areas with multiple benefits for local communities.
Environment Minister Kostas Skrekas said the initiative aims to highlight Greece’s forest and cultural wealth providing locals and visitors the chance to enjoy the unique beauty of the country.
“These are actions that will create special added value to local communities and are in themselves an independent tourist product,” Skrekas said.
“Paths are inextricably linked to our architecture and history. It’s about time we funded the opening, maintenance and marking of trails protecting biodiversity and showcasing the natural beauty of each location,” said Amyras.