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New twinning on recreation and nature conservation in a post-lockdown society


Since 1989, the Eurosite Twinning Programme has been providing a unique opportunity to create a real network of partners working actively and collectively for nature conservation on the European level. Eurosite’s 30 years of experience in Twinning and the involvement of dedicated (inter)national partners provide a solid basis for a successful collaboration with the aim of achieving a better conservation status of the twinned natural sites.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe, countries have been taking measures to limit the spread of the virus and to protect its inhabitants. What these measures entail varies per country, due to different strategies to
control its spread, but most countries have chosen a temporary lockdown. Fortunately, most countries have seen a decline in the prevalence of the virus – raising new questions on how to execute exit strategies.

During lockdown, some Eurosite members have been instructed to close their natural areas for the general public, others have had to take extra measures to ensure safe recreation. The lockdown and (partially) closed natural areas provided unique opportunities to some, for example with regards to monitoring. However, some areas were struck by large amounts of local visitors damaging the areas. Despite all the different measures, one of the commonly advised rules is the 1.5/2-meter distance rule. As long as there is no vaccine against Covid-19, governments are encouraging to keep 1.5/2-meter distance from others as one of the main measures to prevent infection.

Goals of the twinning

The keep-distance rule will have an impact on how we used to do things as a society, but will also impact practices in nature conservation, for example how recreational activities are regulated in natural areas. This new reality forces many organisations managing (a) natural area(s) to come up with new approaches and work methods. The goal of this thematic twinning is to exchange information and ideas and to together develop methods to help site managers deal with the new reality. It will contribute to identifying efficient ways of managing natural sites in multiple aspects, ranging from rules concerning the employment of volunteers, to one-way directions on hiking paths, and from conservation activities in the field to ensuring the safety of visitors of the area.

Foreseen activities

Within this twinning exchange, Eurosite will facilitate the compilation of the issues the twinning partners are facing in the post-lockdown period related to their daily work (i.e. management, restoration, monitoring,
communication and visitor management). As a next step, the twinning partners will present the approaches and practices they have developed and are applying to other partners in a form of recorded webinars. Eurosite will ensure a wider dissemination of good practice to the Eurosite Network and beyond.

If you are interested in joining this thematic twinning or want to have more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.