What is there to discover in the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park? What are its distinguishing features? Unique points of interest? The section Exploring the Regional Nature Park showcases the countless treasures that this part of Switzerland has to offer.
With a surface area of 503 km2, the Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut Regional Nature Park lies between the towns of Bulle, Montreux and Gstaad, and its territory extends over two cantons, Fribourg and Vaud. There are a total of 14 municipalities spread over four regions – Jogne, Intyamon, Pays-d’Enhaut, Rochers-de-Naye.
Landscapes and nature
The Park boasts an array of stunning landscapes. Whether natural or shaped by centuries of human activity, they are all typical of the Fribourg Pre-Alps: valley after valley carved out by rivers and each one home to beautifully preserved villages, eight of which feature on the Federal Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites (ISOS).
Built and cultural heritage
The history of the four regions covered by the Park can be read through their built and cultural heritage. For example, the people of Gruyère built alpine chalets, large town houses and developed transport links. Both the Protestant and Catholic faiths have bequeathed the Park an outstanding body of religious architecture, while the 19th century heyday of the tourism industry have dotted the landscape with luxury hotels and railways.
Farming and forestry
Agriculture is an economic mainstay of the Park. The sector concentrates on cattle rearing and milk production. Three of its cheeses are world-renowned and bear the prestigious AOC label: Gruyère, L’étivaz, and Vacherin Fribourgeois). There are also a number of farms which produce a range of goats and sheep milk products, not to mention a wide variety of regional produce from the rearing of suckler cows, pigs, deer, and free-range chickens.
The forest covers 40% of the surface area of the park ( more than 20,300 hectares). Forests are vital to protecting the valleys. They are also home to a great diversity of animals, constituting a huge biological network. The forests also serve a commercial purpose (fire wood, construction, craftsmanship). The local community and visitors also greatly appreciate the forests as a place where they can relax and enjoy themselves.
Timber companies are one of the largest employers in the alpine municipalities within the Park, providing skilled and decentralised jobs.
Tourism and culture
Tourism has been an important economic driver for the Park since the 19th century. The Park now has several ski slopes of its own and the region in general is a real paradise for walkers and snow-shoe enthusiasts.