Gerês National Park - 100% plastic free initiative.

Hello Nature lovers,

Here is an update regarding the sustainable tourism projects going on this season. We have been developing many more ideas that we would like to share with you!
The main goal of our initiatives is to enlighten guests about environmental awareness. In doing so, we are providing information about environmental issues or problems and give solutions about necessary skills to take responsible actions. The aim is a 100% free plastic tour.
 
But how did we get to that idea?
 
 
 
In the last years we were monitoring our ecological footprint. We came to the conclusion that providing water bottles to our guests was leading to a big problem of plastic consumption and we realized that the company must change this behavior. Therefore, we started the project reducing our ecological footprint during our tours to reach the 100% plastic free goal.
 
The approach is to encourage all guests to bring their own water bottles and refill them with fresh spring water from the fountains that you can find around the national park. In the end of the tour the plastic that was used, can be recycled in Porto. This project was introduced and started in June this year.
We will be monitoring the plastic consumption during the season as we aim to become the 100% plastic free. We would really appreciate it if you can support us to accomplish this goal and reduce at all the plastic that you bring with you on the tours. 
In raising awareness of environmental challenges and shaping the attitudes and behaviors of the ones that join us, we believe we are leading to a responsible and more sustainable tourism.
We want to make a difference and be part of a changing paradigm into a sustainable and responsible tourism! We count on you to help us get there.
 
We will keep you updated about our actions and successes!
 
 
 

Responsible tourism: Everyone wins!

 

Dear Travelers,

When you choose Oporto Adventure Tours you are beginning a cycle of nature life.

The Oporto Adventure Tours uses part of the tour’s money to preserve and restore the natural local heritage.

With your contribution we can plant, every year, hundreds of trees and the environmental local associations join us in this wonderful life share. Local habitants feel inspired by our responsible actions and to participate as well. Both, locals and environmental associations keep helping actively in this cycle and assure the maintenance of those trees until the adult age. This choice shows how fully committed everyone is to this cause. We now have all the conditions to assure the full cycle and the prosperity

Geres is now a little greener thanks to you! It is important to restart the cycle, every year, so that the sustainable tourism never dies! Join us and make part of this incredible and pleasant mission!

We are making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.
Choose Responsible Tourism, Choose Oporto Adventure tours! 

plantacao 2

 

A sua Árvore só fará diferença se sobreviver!

Mais difícil que organizar uma plantação de arvores é reunir condições e ideias para que estas cheguem á fase adulta.

Aproveitamos este artigo no Blogue para lhe garantir que através do protocolo assinado entre a Oporto adventure Tours, Quercusviveiro de Álvaro Afonso Unipessoal, LDA que está assegurada as condições para essa manutenção.

Aquele terreno despido, fustigado pelo fogo posto, vai se transformar num lindo carvalhal.

Gostaríamos de agradecer:

-Todos os que escolhem a Oporto Adventure Tours para realizar a sua tour, 

-À Equipa Oporto Adventure Tours,  

-Ao Carlos Rio, responsável pela edição deste vídeo, 

-Aos nossos parceiros,

-A todos os voluntários que participaram na atividade,

-Águas Fastio, Junta Freguesia de Rio Caldo e Câmara de Terras do Bouro, 

-E finalmente á Quercus e viveiro de Álvaro Afonso Unipessoal, LDA que alinharam nesta aventura connosco e sem eles seria impossível a garantia de uma plantação eficaz de árvores no Geres.

Terminamos com a renovação de esperança que esta ideia de sustentabilidade e responsabilidade ambiental por parte das empresas de animação turística é crucial para o futuro. Esperamos que outras empresas sigam o nosso exemplo. 

A vocês que participaram de forma voluntária na plantação: a vossa árvore vai fazer diferença!!

Um sincero Obrigada! 

Carla e Sérgio

Responsable Tourism: Travel to Porto and help Peneda-Gerês National Park become a better place

 
 

A good place to live is a good place to visit!

 
National Park Peneda - Gerês is full of toxic tourism. That is a historic problem in Gerês. Visitors arrive to Park and destroy the natural heritage with their lack of careful, leaving the garbage on the floor and ruining the fauna and flora by neglect. 
 
Image if you were a local, how would you feel if you saw this picture over and over again? 
You may think that this kind of tourism create jobs and increases the local economy but the reality is not so black and white as you imagine.  
The truth is that many tourists left  without experience and understand this incredible place. They don´t learn the old traditions, the history behind every magic corner and sometimes they don´t even taste the amazing local gastronomy. 
 
 lampadabgreen1
  In Nature nothing exists alone!            
When we began our Gerês Day Tour, in 2012, we didn´t know yet what we want to be, but we certainly knew what we didn´t want to be: More Toxic Tourism in Gerês! 
The challenge was, from the beginning, understand how we could be different. Rapidly we realize that only a true relation based in trust, respect and partnership, with the local population, make sustainable tourism possible. 
 
And What´s the Point?  
 
What´s the point to plant trees if there isn´t anyone to keep and make them grown? 
 
What´s the point to donate money to the local associations? What they really do with the money? Probable the real associations issues are not the capital but the capacity to create and develop effectivity actions that have a significant contribution for the conservation and preservation of the National Park Peneda-Gerês cultural and natural heritage.   
 
What´s the point to promote clean campaigns? The ideal is to prevent people pollution, alerting them to have manners and to be more  knowledgeable. 
 
What´s the point to bring new visitors to the park if the tour guide offers them a picnic lunch with products bought in a big commercial store? What kind of benefic this practices bring to the local community
 
Given the answers we had the mental clarity of the difficulties and challengs to deal ahead.But the love for the Gerês Park, the locals and the alternative tourism inspiration gave us the strength to apply and built our own ideas.
Have the best travelers of the world helped! Local habitants sooner began to notice that we were different, our tourist don´t pollute, don't ruin, instead they respect the environment and the local roots.Our guides support the local restaurants having their and the tourists meals in typical restaurants, showing the different history in each dish and telling stories behind the person who made it. 
 As a result the relationship between Oporto Adventure Tours and the locals increased and the trustfulness grew.  
 
old lady
Nowadays mutual support is a reality! 
 
- We collect tree seeds, they care and find the best spot to plant them. 
- We plant trees, they assure their survival.
-  The local associations need help to implant some new idea? They can count on us! 
 
We really believe that we are helping Gerês to become a better place, not just for the habitants but also for the future visitors. Provide the best experience is our main goal!
 
 protocolo
 
To keep in mind our goal, this year we signed a protocol with QUERCUS, a main environment organization which focus operate in natural resources conservation and environment defense
We have planned several activities and all our tour guides, residents and tourists will participate. 
 
- Native seed harvest in Gerês 
- Environment education actions 
- Plant several trees 
 
WE LOVE. WE CARE. WE DARE 
  
 
Written by Carla Couto e Sérgio Miranda

Escadas, vedações, multas e lixo no Gerês - O Trilho fácil do desenrasque

Escadas , vedações, multas e lixo no Gerês

 O Trilho  fácil do desenrasque

As últimas notícias sobre o Gerês, de lixo espalhado por todo lado, pessoas que se perdem e tem que ser resgatadas, de quedas que resultam em feridos graves e até já numa morte, não nos surpreende.. Já há muito tempo que vínhamos a alertar para a iminência de isto acontecer. 

 

Como está a ser resolvido o problema?

http://www.jn.pt/local/noticias/braga/terras-de-bouro/interior/queda-em-cascata-no-geres-causou-ferido-grave-5320601.html

 

Resumindo, a  câmara coloca uma vedação, as associações locais colocam uma escada, algumas empresas de animação turística como a nossa pagam para se recolher lixo e andamos todos a tentar resolver o problema com remendos e desenrasques de última hora.

 

É necessário uma plano de turismo sustentável para o Gerês .

 

É necessário que autarquias, ICNF, empresas de animação turística e associações locais, etc., se reúnam e discutam soluções para terminar com um cenário que nos envergonha a todos .

 

Não é só o Parque Nacional que se tem que organizar para receber visitantes , os visitantes tem que estar preparados para visitar o parque. Como não se dão sacos de civismo ás entradas das pontes em caniçada, essa educação para a preservação e conservação da natureza tem que ser feita mais eficazmente nas escolas e em casa ..iniciativas como plantações de árvores, caminhadas interpretativas da flora e fauna são cruciais para gerações futuras , não se destrói o que se ama.. temos que ensinar os nossos filhos a  amar a natureza.

A atual dependência  economia local com o desempenho do turismo está à vista de todos.. será possível o parque continuar a receber visitantes sem ser destruído?.

 

Sim é !!! O Turismo sustentável não é uma Utopia .. é trilho longo difícil e exigente  mas que vale apena ser percorrido.

 

Nós acreditamos que o Parque Nacional consiga ser dos parques mais bonitos da Europa mesmo no mês de Agosto

 

O Gerês merece mais do que escadas e vedações feitas à pressão! O dia no geres nao deve ficar registado na memoria com imagem do lixo das multas ou trânsito caótico!

 

A visita ao Gerês tem que ser uma experiência especial porque o parque é especial!

 

Resta nos aguardar pela capacidade de quem tem poder resolutivo enfrente o problema e tenha capacidade de arranjar soluções a medio longo prazo para o parque .

Deixamos uma ultima palavra de solidariedade para com os bombeiros e população local da serra amarela do Geres, a vossa dor é a nossa.

 

Carla Couto e Sérgio Miranda 

Oporto Adventure Tours

Reforesting Gerês National Park: today in our hands, tomorrow in our mountains

peneda geres forest

I'm Carla, the owner of Oporto Adventure Tours. My 9 month pregancy didn't allow me to go to Gerês last Saturday planting trees... you don't imagine my sadness. Still, our team was there, putting their hands dirty and making Gerês greener! Just look at the testimonies of some of the 50 participants that contributed with this iniciative:

"I'm planting a tree in Gerês for every traveler I had the pleasure of being guide of. A definitive proof that all the travelers left something positive in this land and in my heart."
Ricardo Guerreiro, Oporto Adventure Tour's guide

"When I saw the 4x4 coming from Porto, full with foreign people, I thought: "What are they doing in Fafião?" The true is that I saw people leaving happy, sharing the same happiness with the company's guides and friends, planting trees in my homeland."
Mr. Zé, a local

"To live a full life you need to write a book, have a child and plant a tree... Now I'm just 2 steps away to achieve it!"
Rita, a visitor

kids planting trees peneda geres

"Oporto Adventure Tours is doing so much to promote Gerês and our village! Thank you for all the support!"

Lino, President of Vezeira de Fafião's Association

"It's not enough to plant the trees, it is necessary to assure that they grow... the day was beautiful but the main job it's not finished yet!"
Raul, President of Fafião's uncultivated lands

 

portuguese typical food geres

"It was a great day for me and my family in Gerês National Park! One of those days that we will remember in Christmas! And the typical pasta? Oh my, what a delicious dish! Only possible in Gerês!"
Rui Coelho, a visitor

 

"I am completely convinced that we can plant more trees and guarantee even better conditions so they can grow to adult life! Next year we will make it even greater!"
Sérgio Miranda, owner of Oporto Adventure Tours

 

"Such a good feeling... give back to nature the energy that she gives to us everyday!"
Keita, canyon's international monitor

 

 

"Well, we had never imagine that we would come to Portugal to plant some trees! Definitively an all new experience!"
Sonia and Barkot, Gerês tour's travelers

travelers planting trees

These are some of the many testimonies we were pleased to ear, all giving us the energy to keep going, promoting the natural heritage of Gerês! We will keep doing it with the local associations, so that in 2017, Gerês becomes greener again! But is this enough? NO! Our goals are:

- Helping to rebuild espigueiros and community ovens in the villages;
- Assist the reconstruction of viewpoints;
- Promote the Gerês artisan's work in Porto;
- Participate in the clearing of the Gerês forests.

peneda geres espigueiros

We believe in sustainable tourism! It is, actually, the only way (that makes sense to us) to do tourism in Gerês!

Once again, thanks to all the travelers, the volunteers, the Vezeira of Fafião's Association, the Oporto Adventure Tour's team and to all of you that joined us last Saturday!


Author: Carla Couto
(Oporto Adventure Tours owner)