Since 2009, Ossola Protected Areas also include the Parco Naturale dell’Alta Valle Antrona (Upper Valle Antrona Nature Park), an unspoilt environment with an overall area of almost eight thousand hectares, with a difference in altitude ranging from 500 metres at Borgomezzavalle up to 3,656 metres at the summit of Pizzo Andolla, and which borders on the Laggintal Nature Reserve in Switzerland.
The park includes four artificial reservoirs: Lago di Cingino, famous for the spectacle offered by its acrobatic ibexes, Lago di Campliccioli, overlooking Lago di Antrona, Lago di Camposecco and Lago Alpe dei Cavalli, near Cheggio. Added to these is the Lago di Antrona, one of the rare naturally dammed lakes in the Alps, created by an immense landslide in 1642.
In the Parco Naturale dell’Alta Valle Antrona the biodiversity is truly exceptional: many species, some of them extremely rare, if not unique, live in various habitats. The most typical mountain fauna can be seen along with many varieties of flora: a number of monumental larch trees in the Lombraoro Alp, a rarity in the whole alpine range, are worth mentioning.
The park also bears witness to its mining past: its slopes were in fact exploited for many years to extract iron ore, which was then processed in the iron works in Villadossola. Additionally, gold was also plentiful in the mountains of the Alta Valle Antrona, so much so that up until the mid-20th century there were many mining operations there.
The Parco Naturale dell’Alta Valle Antrona is now a place where natural scenery, really delicate because it has an incredibly high level of biodiversity, is protected and promoted: an absolutely fascinating patch of Ossola Valley to be explored at a leisurely pace!