Park categories

Parks of National Importance are divided into three categories: National parks, Regional nature parks and Nature discovery parks. These three park types have different organisational structures and pursue different goals.

National Park

A national park consists of a core and a buffer zone. In the core zone, nature can develop freely and undisturbed. Human activities are severely restricted. The buffer zone includes villages and cultural landscapes managed in harmony with nature, as well as areas for tourism or forestry. As its name suggests, this zone provides a buffer which protects the core zone from negative influences. The Swiss National Park, which has been in existence for almost 100 years, has its own legislative basis. The park is one of the best protected wild areas in the Alps.

Regional Nature Park

A Regional nature park covers a rural area characterised by a diversity of natural features, rich biodiversity and unique cultural assets such as the Rhaetian Railway in Parc Ela (both in Graubünden). These values should not only be preserved and enhanced, but also utilised to develop the region sustainably.

Nature Discovery Park

A Nature discovery park is divided into a core and a transition zone. The core zone provides an undisturbed habitat for local flora and fauna. The transition zone acts as a buffer for the core zone. In the transition zone there is a wide range of opportunities for education, relaxation and adventure sports, providing an important contribution to improving the quality of life of the urban population. A Nature discovery park is no more than 20 kilometres from the nearest urban centre and is easily accessible by public transport.