THE SACRED MOUNTS MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
The Authority-managed area includes the portion of Varallo where the Sacred Mount is located, known as the Special Reserve of the Sacred Mount of Varallo.
Here the chapels are completely enveloped by native and exotic vegetation, according to the tradition of Italian Renaissance gardens.
TICINO AND LAKE MAGGIORE PROTECTED AREAS MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
For the Province of Vercelli, the following areas are managed by the Authority:
·Baragge Nature Reserve: (it includes the following areas: Gattinara, Lenta, Lozzolo, Roasio, and Rovasenda.) On the northwest border with Piedmont, between the provinces of Biella and Vercelli, this foothill area is bordered to the west by the Morenic Serra and to the east by the Sesia River. Clayey and compact soils and vast prairies give room to barren heathlands: this is the landscape of the Baragge, an area that has much in common with the African Savannah. The territory of the Baragge Reserve is ideal for excursions by bicycle or by foot, among the typical vegetation (for example, the heath, which in early Fall colors the landscape with its pink swathes) and wildlife (white stork nests dot the area).
·Lame del Sesia Nature Park: (it includes the following areas: Albano Vercellese, Greggio, Oldenico, and Villata.) The Park covers an area of approximately 900 hectares, along a river stretch that is almost 8 km long on the border between the provinces of Vercelli and Novara. The fluvial land is characterized by the "lame”, pools of water created by branches of the Sesia River, and by "gerbidi”, clearings created from gravel sediments. It is soil continuously shaped by the floods of the Sesia River. Along its banks, the wooded areas are the last remnants of the almost disappeared plain forests. The biodiversity in this protected area is significant, boasting more than 140 birds recorded. It is possible to tour the Birdwatching Museum.
·Isolone di Oldenico: located on the border of the Parco delle Lame, it is surrounded by the river and hosts one of the largest "garzaie” (wetlands) in Italy. It is the ideal place for birdwatchers who can use the birdwatching hut located on the Sesia bank to admire and enjoy the life and habits of local birds.
·Garzaia di VillarboitNature Reserve: it extends over a surface of about 11 hectares, mainly made up of rice paddies and typical Baragge land. The heart of the Reserve consists of a 3-hectare wide forest.
·Garzaia di Carisio Nature Reserve: a large stretch of wetland along the banks of the Elvo stream in the municipality of Carisio. Following the deforestation that took place before the Reserve was established, the land is now covered by extensive white willow trees known as "robineti”.
VERCELLI-ALESSANDRIA PO RIVER PROTECTED AREAS MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
The land managed by the Authority is bordered by the flat area of Vercelli and the hilly area of Casale. These mainly agricultural areas feature, however, high biodiversity.
There are several Nature Reserves managed by the Authority such as:
·"Sorti della Partecipanza” Forest Nature Park in Trino: the protected area of the forest includes approximately 600 hectares of land, and it was established in 1991. This small green lung in the plain is a true natural rarity: the only example of lowland forest in the Po Valley, a natural environment that in the past was common and now disappeared. The forest as we know it today is all that remains after multiple deforestations that, thanks to the common interests of a collective administration, was stopped to allow admiring this incredible specimen of an era now lost. The area of the Park includes the architectural complexes of the Abbeys of Lucedio, Montarolo, and Madonna delle Vigne.
·Fontana Gigante Nature Reserve in Tricerro: a marshy habitat that hosts rare plants native of the Po Valley and bird species of ornithological interest.
·San Genuario Marsh Nature Reserve in Crescentino, Fontanetto Po, Livorno Ferraris, and Trino: a nature reserve of significant naturalistic importance for the variety of birds that nest here.
·Santa Maria Island Nature Reserve: it takes its name from the small yet characteristic village overlooking the river in the area of Crescentino. It is a small jewel of rice field vegetation that hosts a colony of beautiful gray herons.
VALLE SESIA PROTECTED AREAS MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
This Authority manages the highest altitude Park of Europe for the province of Vercelli, and it includes:
·Alta Valsesia: (it includes the following areas: Alagna Valsesia, Alto Sermenza, Carcoforo, Fobello, and Rimella.) Established in 1979, it covers an area of Punta Gnifetti ranging in altitude from 900 to 4,559 meters a.s.l. making it the highest altitude protected area in Europe. Considering the remarkable difference in altitude, the Park hosts a wide variety of natural environments with a significant variety of flora and fauna. There are numerous trekking trails, and all of them offer unique panoramic views. A tour of the Nature Museum of Carcoforo is recommended.
·Glaciological trail: located in the Alagna Valsesia area, it covers an area located in altitude between 1,500 m to 2,070m a.s.l. and allows exploring the Valsesia glaciers through 8 panels that describe the development of the glacier.
·Monte Fenera: (It includes areas of the municipalities of Borgosesia and Valduggia). Located in Bassa Valsesia, it became a Nature Park in 1987. An important sedimentary area in Valsesia, in its western section it features numerous karst caves, where great discoveries of archaeological and paleontological importance were made and continue to be made. In fact, traces of the Neanderthals (dating back to about 200,000 years ago), Cave Bears (that went extinct about 20,000 years ago), and the Merk rhinoceros have all been found here. A good network of trails allows trekking on the mountain up to its peak, at 899 m a.s.l. where a fantastic view is awaiting.
·Sesia Val Grande Geopark, UNESCO Global Geopark: it includes the following areas: Alagna Valsesia, Alto Sermenza, Balmuccia, Boccioleto, Borgosesia, Campertogno, Carcoforo, Cellio con Breia, Cervatto, Civiasco, Cravagliana, Fobello, Gattinara, Guardabosone, Lozzolo, Mollia, Pila, Piode, Postua, Quarona, Rassa, Rimella, Roasio, Rossa, Scopa, Scopello, Serravalle Sesia, Valduggia, Varallo, and Vocca. Many sites have in common the Alps formation processes that reshaped the earth's crust until the deepest areas emerged. A good example of this is the Valsesia Supervolcano.