Beyond the Border

When I decided to create a project on parks and protected areas, certain aspects that I had never before taken into consideration came immediately to mind. While it occurred to me on many occasions to venture into some of these areas, the way i viewed such a venture had always been from a tourist's point of view. The first question i posed to myself was possibly the most important: Why is it that we need to create these protected areas? Is it because the natural environment tends to be destroyed? In this case, shouldn't the borders be clearly discernible given that what remains outside is visibly evident and shows the difference between those areas that are protected and those that are not? This leads to other questions regarding what constitutes the actual borders of a park and what one can and can not do within them. As a result of these uncertainties, in deciding which park to investigate, I chose one in which certain critical aspects that were related to my questions were clearly evident. Without traveling far, in Tuscany, the Parco Regionale delle Alpi Apuane (Apuan Alps Regional Park) offered a vast selection of arguable themes that need answers; that would encourage debate deserving of a response. Certainly these mountains exhibit, perhaps more so than other areas, the need for territorial protection and the consequent institution of a protected area, but to an equal degree, they exhibit the clear need on the part of man to intervene by way of commercial activity and hence the necessity to violate a zone that is formally declared as protected. This ambiguity serves as an interesting example for what is the current relationship between man, territory, and the natural environment, an ambiguity which is present not only in the protected areas but which could even be considered intensified there. A study carried out by the University of Siena on the Appuan Territory found that there are over seven hundred quarries there, including active and non-active ones. It is enough to look at a satellite view of the territory to see the extent to which this area is in need of protection. Can the creation of a park suffice to protect a given territory or is this, too, subject to the influence of politics and the carving up of the territory in the service of economic interests, void of consideration as to what is in the interest of the public good; to protect the environment? Can the designation of an area as protected be considered an attempt to reclaim territory for the social and common good? This is part of what i seek to put in evidence in my photographic work. Landscapes from a protected area that seem otherwise; an ambiguity, taken for granted, in order to better understand what these parks and natural reserves serve in relation to human activity, the environment, the territory, and the way in which this relationship has changed over time.