On the first day, God created Reunion Island. On the second day, he created its National Park... History is not quite so simple and reactive, but the result really is the creation of a natural Eden...
The National Park
The basis of this project was the awareness that it was necessary to protect and promote the extraordinary environment created by the island's mountainous area. The flora and fauna there are very diverse, and sometimes endemic. There are not found anywhere else on the planet and needed to be protected through an active conservation policy. Local authorities therefore launched this initiative from 1985. A complex process, bringing together national actors, who have grown over time. The year 2000, with the new millennium approaching, marked a turning point in this process: the principle of a National Park was chosen and the request sent to the Ministry of the Environment.
Between 2001 and 2003, a mission conducted the studies necessary for the creation of this structure. A joint protocol was signed between the island's State, the Region, the Department and the Mayoral Association.
From 2004 to 2006, everyone joined forces to define the boundaries of the park and the content of the project. The commission came to a favourable conclusion, with some recommendations. This led to the official creation of Reunion Island National Park on 5 March 2007. Next, a charter had to be written, followed by the recruitment of the teams who manage this institution, and those to be deployed in the field.
Inclusion on UNESCO's list
The international recognition of these efforts was achieved on 1 August 2010, when UNESCO included the interior of Reunion Island National Park on its list of natural World Heritage Sites, due to their outstanding universal value. More specifically, this concerns the island's volcanic peaks, craters and ramparts.
History is still in the making, since the park's charter must be reviewed every ten years, which could lead to an extension of the boundaries of the protected area.