Essay on The Environmental Impact of Skiing and Tourism

1718 Words 7 Pages
It is extremely easy to forget the impact imposed by skiing on the mountain environments. Most people believe the only effect that they have on the environment within mountain regions are the tracks in the snow left by their skis. However, there is strong evidence that skiing has both a social and more noticeably, environmental impacts that influence the natural environment. Some experts of the Alpine region suggest that tourists directly affect over half of the Alps entire surface area. It can therefore be stated that the Alps are now one of the most threatened mountain ecosystems on Earth. This viewpoint was further backed up by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, chairman of Alp Action, based in Geneva, which works towards preserving and …show more content…
An example of the affects on wildlife is the black grouse which resides in the Alps, Wales, Scotland and the Lake District. As a result of skiing, the black grouse now exists at only half its usual population density around ski resorts. However, the disturbance area is increasing in size as more and more people ski off-piste and intrude into the habitat of the black grouse.

When examining the visual impacts of skiing on the mountain environment, it is easy to see that the monstrous metallic pylons which support the ski lifts and the ski lift terminals blemish the previously unscarred panoramic views. The implications of all of the developments within the mountain environment results in a snowballing affect and results in increased pressure on the environment. With the rise in popularity of some resorts such as Tignes and the Trois Vallées in France, there is the added pressure of expansion of the resorts and the improvement of its facilities. The ski resorts are mainly built on confined valley floor areas and are therefore hemmed in by the surrounding mountainous environment. However, the need to accommodate the increasing numbers and demands of tourists means that resorts have had to expand resulting in further erosion of the mountain sides. The impact of skiers on the environment can be seen due to the increased problems of global warming within these areas. Over the past few years,
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