The Avenaz loop: Cordon
4 points of interest
Livestock farming and biodiversity in the same sentence?Alpine ecosystems, a source of biodiversity, are susceptible to two major trends: the opening up (meadows, lawns, etc.) and closing down (scrub, shrubs, forests) of natural environments. If left untouched by natural or human disturbances (fires, storms, landslides, agriculture, etc.), a natural environment will close up, going through several stages, from scrub to forest. Such closure of an environment can lead to fire hazards and a blending of ecosystems. Herds may have a negative impact on biodiversity, as they cause soil erosion and may pollute the soil with pesticide treatments. At the same time, however, if the herds’ grazing is being done in a sustainable way (extensive agriculture), they help to prevent closure of environments and also contribute to their greater diversity. In low and medium mountains, it is therefore important to have a variety of ecosystems that alternate between open and closed environments.
The Rusty-leaved AlpenroseIt owes its name to the rust-coloured underside of its leaves! This plant belongs to the Ericaceae family, which includes bilberries and heathers. It blooms from the end of June, attracting many pollinating insects. It is a fan of chilly locations: it tends to grow on the north-facing slopes where sun exposure is shortest. The reason for this is that it doesn't shed its leaves in winter, so it needs a thick blanket of snow to keep it from freezing!
A shared mountain: private propertiesIn the mountains, many trails and hiking itineraries go through private property, such as forest trails, rural or service roads, etc. They are subject to a right-of-way agreement between the local authority and the owner. This agreement can be terminated at any time by the private owner, or following a sale, which would result in changes to the owner’s rights and the layout of the paths. As the popularity of mountain hiking increases, it's essential to take everyone’s needs into account. Please respect the signs and use the existing infrastructure so that we can continue to share our beautiful mountains for many years to come!
A skilful pest: the bark beetleBark beetles are a large family of insects known as Coleoptera, which can grow to between 4 and 6 mm in length. Naturally present throughout Europe, they are one of the most important pests of softwood forests, and more specifically of the spruce forest. Bark beetles are specific to a particular wood type. The spruce type is known as the typographer and the chalcographer, and the Scots pine as the stenographer. The bark beetle burrows under the bark, blocking the flow of sap and causing the softwood to dry out. In the Grand Est and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté regions, around 10 million m3 of wood were infected between September 2018 and the end of 2020, according to the ONF (National Forest Office). Climate change and periods of drought are weakening trees' defences and encouraging the pests to spread.
From the parking area, head back down towards les Pontets going as far as the beautiful stone bridge (pont des Nants). Go right up to Les Plaines (50min) and the Avenaz chalets. At Les Plaines and the picnic area, turn right onto the "no motorcycles" trail. At the Avenaz chalets, go towards Col du Jaillet on a path winding through the blueberry bushes and streams. Enjoy a picnic at the Col du Jaillet in front of the Mont-Blanc massif before taking a small trail on the left towards Les Plaines. Be careful, it's a slippery descent.
- Departure : Lezaive d'en haut parking area, Cordon
- Arrival : Lezaive d’en haut parking area, Cordon
- Towns crossed : Cordon and Sallanches
There is the option of taking a forest track up to Les Plaines and the picnic area (1 hour long). Another, more challenging option will take you to the Col de l'Avenaz and the Petit Croisse Baulet. Always take care and plan ahead when hiking. Asters CEN-74 cannot be held responsible for any accident or incident that may occur on this trail.
Access and parking
After passing the centre of the Cordon village, head towards the Pontets hamlet (“hameau des Pontets”).
Lezaive d'en haut parking area
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