Stage 17: La Mure > Serre-Chevalier
A very rich site ...
At the start of the stage on 19 July 2017, the race crosses the Massif de la Muzelle Natura 2000 site (FR8201751), managed by the Ecrins National Park. It overlaps the Ecrins Natura 2000 site (FR9310036), which has a larger area and is dedicated to the preservation of birds.
The Muzelle massif site also encompasses the Haut-Béranger National Nature Reserve and one of only two French wilderness areas, the Lauvitel Nature Reserve, which has been classified as such since 2012.
The landscape of the Muzelle massif is characterised by deep valleys, a forest understory, rhododendron moors, alpine grasslands, megaphorbia, and high mountain glacial peaks. This mosaic of habitats is representative of alpine environments.
In addition, there are four high-altitude lakes (between 1,500 and 2,500 m above sea level) with a large surface area: the Lauvitel lake, Plan Vianney lake, the Muzelle lake and the Vallon lake. Because of their quality, these water bodies are scientifically monitored.
The site's rich biodiversity justified its classification under Natura 2000. As regards animal species, this area includes the black grouse in forest habitats, the rock ptarmigan and the Alpine ibex.
In terms of plant species, there are some very rare species such as the Queen of the Alps, the Dracocephalum austriacum and the Potentilla delphinensis.
...to maintain and preserve
The presence of reserves as well as its difficult access (mountain reliefs and high altitude) protect the Muzelle massif site from development projects. However, because of the Ecrins National Park’s fame, it is subjected to high volumes of tourist traffic.
Although the site is preserved, some human activities persist in targeted areas: small silviculture businesses are present in the forest valleys of Marsanne and Bonne, and extensive pastoral activity is maintained, favouring conservation of alpine grasslands.