controversy surrounding Prince Albert of Monaco’s helicopter ride to the top of Gran Paradiso

The many photos taken on July 12, atop Gran Paradiso, of a smiling Albert of Monaco posed with a group of guides gave no indication of the coming storm. But since the terms of the prince’s ascension have been revealed, the row has raged. This would have taken a large part of the journey by helicopter at the expense of the taxpayer.

As if the political crisis rocking Italy wasn’t enough, now the regional council of the autonomous region of the Aosta Valley is also on fire. What’s more, because of the long-awaited visit of a celebrity from outside the small French-speaking region.

On July 12, it was to take part in the celebrations marking the creation 100 years ago of the Gran Paradiso National Park, the very first in Italy, that Prince Albert II of Monaco went to the Aosta Valley. . Very pleased with the visit of such a media personality, the “Fondazione Gran Paradiso”, which manages the promotion of Gran Paradiso for the municipalities of the Aosta Valley in the park, intended to take advantage of the Prince’s visit to highlight the effects of global warming on his territory.

After signing the “Grand Paradis Charter” with the president of the Aosta Valley region, where he committed the principality and the Italian region in particular to sustainable development and good environmental practices, Albert II specifies the foundation that organizes the “Gran Paradiso Film Festival”, “wished to personally realize the state of degradation of the Aosta Valley glaciers, in retreat due to global warming and whose fate is as worrying as that of the oceans”.

And the Prince to go the next day, rucksack, crampons on his feet and ice ax in his hand, as seen in the photos taken at 4,061 meters above sea level, at the top of the mythical Italian summit.

Some pictures to immortalize the event. And a symbolic deposit, at the top, of the famous “protocol of friendship and protection of the Grand Paradiso park”, signed the day before, 4,000 meters below. Here it is Albert II leaving the Aosta Valley. The princely visit could have been in the foundation’s photo album as one of the highlights of this year’s celebration of the park’s 100th anniversary.

Instead, a few days later, it was the Mountain Wilderness Association that was the first to change the quality of the images taken by the princely roped party. To convey the doubts expressed in a post by a member of the rangers of the Gran Paradiso National Park, the conservationists do much more than scratch the ascent to Gran Paradiso in Albert of Monaco.

“When we see the pictures of the climb in which Prince Albert II took part, our first doubts arise. Suspicions confirmed by a post, now deleted by the author”reveals Mountain Wilderness.

And the association to quote excerpts in which we are talking about “tourist flight organized for the Prince”with helicopter drop-off below the summit, where Albert II “pretending to arrive from the bottom of the valley on foot without generating any pollution”. Worse, the region would have made it possible, on occasion, to provide a reserve alpine rescue helicopter. At the expense of the Aosta Valley taxpayer.

“My shame is even greater for the institution represented by the Gran Paradiso National Park, which approved the useless and potentially dangerous flyover for the park’s fauna, despite the negative and reasoned statements of the park’s monitoring body.”joins member of park rangers cited by Mountain Wilderness.

A testimony that the environmental association comments on in its own way in the form of a question: “Was there really a need to helicopter such a rope, with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco clearly appearing on top of the mountain, if not to take a few pictures accompanied by big clickbait headlines?”

Revelations that could not avoid raising a wind of controversy in the regional political class. A fortiori in the climate of a pre-election campaign that dominates Italy since the fall of the Draghi government.

“The fact of being part of the election campaign further complicates the general framework for the discussions between the local political forces”commented Erik Lavevaz, the president of the Aosta Valley to our daily colleagues La Stampa. Starting with the appointment of its vice president for the environment, for example. A member of the regional government, which would be very useful for him to respond to sour press releases from at least six parties in his assembly, especially on the left and even on the far right.

“The world is burningcondemn the political parties that take up the arguments of Mountain Wilderness, and this whole affair brings us into open conflict with the values ​​of the 2030 Agenda that the region said it wanted to promote (…) This appeal launched from the summit of Gran Paradiso by the authorities to ordinary citizens (i.e. those who still is to go in the mountains on foot) has lost all meaning”finish the signatories of a written question to ask that the responsibility of those who authorized this overflight be determined.

The summer of the 100th anniversary of the first Italian national park in history will therefore not be easy. Not even on the political level with this “princely roped” affair, which is timely to further poison the election campaign. This must be held in August due to the vote set for September 25. A first in the history of the Italian Republic.

The Gran Paradiso National Park announced in a Facebook post the flying of the flag celebrating the creation of its 100th anniversary. “This disgusting gesture, because the flag was cut (not torn by the wind), should not make us forget the reason it was raised: to celebrate 100 years of history and the future of this entire protected area”, said the management of the Italian park. And to add that another flag will be put back in the same place to continue flying on top of Gran Paradiso until the end of the summer.

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