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How can people counters adapt to the constraints of protected nature parks?

National parks, regional nature parks, marine nature parks, nature reserves, Natura 2000, biotope protection orders and Conservatoire du littoral sites - there are many different names for nature parks. In total, they cover 20% of France's land area (1). The difference between all these names lies in the status of each category, and therefore the legislation that applies to them.

The legislation applying to national parks, for example, is one of the strictest. However, these areas are visited every year by the most avid nature lovers: in 2018, there were an average of 10 million visits (2). As a result, they are faced with the same flow management issues as other sites open to the public. This is all the more true given that uncontrolled visits can have harmful consequences for natural areas. It is therefore important to count visitors accurately in order to optimise the flow of tourists to these natural sites. Which meters should be used? Are they adapted to environmental and legislative constraints? Let's find out!

Nature parks: what constraints apply to counting systems?

As part of a policy of sustainable development, legislation regulates the installation of passage meters in nature parks. Firstly, it must be ensured that the device and its installation do not harm the natural site and its ecosystem. Secondly, the equipment must be resistant to the climatic conditions, which are generally more extreme in these areas.

There are specific regulations for each type of nature park, but the strictest legislative constraints on the installation of passage meters are as follows:

  • unauthorised cabling work, at the risk of breaching the ban on soil artificialisation

  • the devices must respect the surrounding flora and fauna, so they must be discreet and blend in with their surroundings as much as possible

  • authorisation applications must be submitted to the relevant authorities prior to any installation.

Protected natural areas, like outdoor spaces, are often subject to extreme climatic conditions:

  • in summer, temperatures can exceed 45°C for the devices most exposed to the sun

  • in stormy weather, wind gusts can exceed 200 km/h

  • humidity, which is very prevalent in the heart of national parks, can also be very hard on electronic devices,

Finally, the risk of damage to the devices by animals and humans must also be taken into account before any installation is considered.

The most suitable counting systems for nature parks

There are a multitude of people counting systems, but very few of them can be adapted to the regulations and climatic conditions of nature parks.

At Affluences, we were quick to identify the flow management issues faced by nature sites and were able to offer people counters that were best suited to the constraints on the ground.

We provide nature sites with several types of visitor counters:

  • AI (artificial intelligence) counters, which are waterproof thanks to their protective casing, resistant to high temperatures and fixed at height. They can therefore be installed in humid and/or hot areas and are not at risk of being damaged by animals or pedestrians. Its attachment system makes it extremely resistant, even to exceptional gusts of wind. The only drawback is that it requires a continuous power supply, which is not always the case in natural areas. Where there are electrical access points, this is the ideal solution, as on Mont Ventoux, where IA Affluences meters have been installed to measure the occupancy rate of car parks in order to avoid traffic jams.

  • Thermal counters, which are small and discreet. Also waterproof and resistant to high temperatures, these small boxes are easy to install. Their advantage is that they do not require a power supply, since they are self-sufficient in energy. The disadvantage is that they are easily accessible to animals and visitors.

Now that you know that there are counters adapted to your needs, don't wait until your natural sites are overcrowded to tackle the problem head-on:

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