In 2016 the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation launched an initiative to promote dialogue between the 66 operators of mountain huts located in the core area of the World Heritage Site, with the aim of strengthening the network, discussing and sharing ideas and problems and identifying common solutions.
Mountain huts: “sentinels” around the Dolomites
The need to establish a solid alliance between the managers of mountain huts and the Foundation emerged from the #Dolomiti2040 participatory process and fed into the Overall Management Strategy for the Property, recognising the role of the mountain huts as “sentinels”, as unique hospitality structures within the World Heritage Site. In addition, mountain huts have a privileged perspective, as their managers are the first to notice any changes in the environment and the way it is being visited.
From Brenta to Monfalconi, and the Sesto Dolomites to Vette Feltrine, there are about sixty mountain huts offering food, accommodation and, thanks to the project launched in 2016, information about the World Heritage Site. This helps everybody visiting the mountains to be aware that they are exploring the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site and to recognise the unique characteristics leading to recognition of the nine Dolomites Systems as a World Heritage Property.
Cooperation that evolves over time
Collaboration between the Foundation and managers has been transformed over the years. From the original need to increase visibility of the World Heritage Site and share information, there has been a gradual shift towards urgently raising awareness of respectful and conscious behaviour in relation to the environment, transmitting the conservation role of managers, who, in the face of many difficulties, are able to look after the mountains and their visitors.
Since 2017, with renewed cooperation, the Foundation has organised an annual two-day meeting in November during which managers of mountain huts discuss the problems they share and identify joint actions to adopt.