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A sign of paths to come

Swiss Friends of Nature

Hiking is a much-loved pastime among the Swiss and visitors alike, and this weekend sees a special event, which will allow walkers to roam more easily on specially prepared paths from one end of Switzerland to the other.

This content was published on June 6, 2001 - 16:17

A 650-kilometre "Alpine Culture Path", stretching from St Gingolph on Lake Geneva to Müstair in the south-eastern canton of Graubünden is being improved with a carefully timed operation to signpost all sections of the track.

About 300 volunteers responded to a call by the Swiss Friends of Nature organisation to put up a further 700 signs along the 58 sections of the path on June 9. They say their action contributes to eco-friendly tourism, is a contribution to Swiss culture and is a gesture of solidarity in the United Nations year of the volunteer.

The "path" takes hikers through the country's four language regions, 10 cantons and over 15 passes, the highest of which is the Vereina Pass at 2,585 metres.

Along the way, walkers can learn about different aspects of Swiss culture - from local handicrafts and traditions to religions, myths and the personalities who have made history on different parts of the route.

The route, first opened in August 1999, initially takes the traveller from Montreux to Lake Thun traversing the breathtaking countryside and mountains of the Pays d'Enhaut and the Simmen valley.

Travelling north of Lake Brienz, hikers find their way to central Swizterland and over the Gotthard Pass into Ticino. The route then winds its way into Graubünden and the Engadine region before ending in the wilderness of the Müstair valley.

There is, of course, no need to tackle the whole route. Some of the sections are as short as three to five kilometres in length; the longest section is around 20 kilometres. The paths were chosen so they could be easily used by children, the elderly and families, as well as seasoned hikers.

The project to signpost the route has been sponsored in the main by the Credit Suisse Group, a number of whose employees have volunteered to do the legwork themselves.

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