The Paths of Mankind and the Garrano

In the Portuguese municipality of Viana do Castelo, the natural areas integrated in the Natura 2000 Network represent 15% of the region’s territory, covering a wide diversity of ecosystems and scenaries. The Sites of Community Significance (SIC) – North Coast, Lima River and Serra d’Arga – harbours a natural, historical and cultural heritage whose awareness and promotion are nuclear goals of the Municipality within its strategy for environmental education and the organization and improvement of sustainable Nature Tourism.The Garrano, a semi-wild Portuguese indigenous horse breed, has an immeasurable potential to create a unique touristic destination, adding even more value to the classified areas. Technological progress, the modernization of agriculture and the rural exodus present a challenge for the traditional role of the Garrano.The main goal of this project is to consolidate the current strategy of valuing and promoting environmental, landscape and cultural values in the classified areas integrated in the Natura 2000 Network, mostly at a touristic and educational level. For this purpose, this project is pursuing the following specific objectives: increasing the number of tourists visiting the classified areas by expanding and diversifying the set of Nature courses; promoting its scenic features by combining natural and historic-cultural heritages; creating new opportunities for companies operating in the areas of Nature Tourism; authentificating the Garrano as an indigenous breed and the Natura 2000 Network as a premium space for its observation; providing information to the local population, enhancing the cultural and natural significance of the Garrano and the Natura 2000 Network.

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