The Apples of Dolomiti Bellunesi in the USA
A part of the new Visitor Center of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park is dedicated to the project dealing with the recovery of ancient fruit varieties of Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park(Feltre, 28 Giu 11) In the hills of Vermont, in the north of the town of Woodstock, in the north-eastern corner of the United States, there is Marsh-Billings–Rockefeller National Historical Park, preserving the most ancient sustainably managed forest of the whole North America.
The Park has been named after the various owners of the lands that are today part of the protected area who succeeded in time: George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings and, more recently, Laurence and Mary French Rockefeller who, in 1992, gave their estate to the Federal Government, which transformed it into Historical National Park.
This protected area is dedicated to the culture and history of nature preservation in the United States. As a matter of fact, George Perkins Marsh was one of the pioneers of environmentalism and is considered by many the first American ecologist. Author of the book "Man and Nature", published in 1864, he was one of the first persons to thoroughly study and understand the extent and the consequences of the changes caused by the human activities on the environment.
Besides the historical residences of the owners, the Park includes a sustainably managed forest and a didactic farm.
This year, in spring, the Park has decided to renovate the Visitor Center, dedicating one of its sections to "good management" projects carried out by other Parks.
In particular, it has been decided to privilege those projects combining the recovery of traditional activities with the attention to environmental preservation issues.
Two projects have been chosen: the first one is a project carried out by Hubbel Trading Post National Historic Site, in Arizona, to promote the textile products made by hand by the descendants of the Navajos.
The second project chosen for the new Visitor Center is the one dedicated to the recovery of the ancient fruit varieties carried out by Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park.
The Supervisor of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Park, Rolf Diamant, discovered this project last spring, when the Director of Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, Nino Martino, presented it during the conference of the George Wright Society (in the world, one of the most famous and important scientific associations gathering professionals of the Protected Areas), held in New Orleans.
The manager of the US Park asked to send him texts, photos, and drawings regarding the project, in order to prepare the exhibit in the new Visitor Center. In this way, "Pom Prussian", "Ferro Cesio", and "Ferro Rosso" apples will be on display in the far Vermont.
"It is a very important achievement – said the Director of Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, Nino Martino – witnessing the technical and scientific quality of the projects carried out in these years. The US National Park Service is the largest, most ancient, and most qualified protected area system in the world (national parks have been "invented" in the USA) and the fact it has chosen one of our project as an example of combination between preservation of the natural resources and preservation of traditional activities makes us feel very proud. It is an achievement that, only 15 years ago, would have been unthinkable and that – concluded the Director – witnesses how much our Park and the other Italian National Parks have done in a few years".
"The opportunity to display our work on the ancient fruit varieties in the United States – noticed the Park President, Benedetto Fiori – gives the possibility to promote overseas the quality and the value of the traditional agriculture of the area of Belluno; the Park has always been supporting and promoting local agriculture with projects like "Carta Qualità" or thanks to the recovery of the mountain pastures: two of our most significant experiences, together with the recovery of the traditional fruit and vegetable varieties".