Chelmos Vouraikos Geopark
Chelmos-Vouraikos UNESCO Global Geopark extends to the prefectures of Achaia and Corinthia and is bounded by the watercourses of the rivers Vouraikos, Krathis, Aroanios, Ladon and the coastal zone of Diakopto. Its total area comprises about 647.000 acres.
The Global Geopark of Chelmos-Vouraikos is one of the five regions of the country that have joined the UNESCO Global Geopark Network. So far the Network consists of 140 Geoparks in 38 countries of the world and includes special areas of geological heritage or geo-diversity of global importance. Geoparks, as an idea, combine conservation with sustainable development and the involvement of local communities.
Chelmos-Vouraikos Geopark has an exceptional geological history and hosts unique landscapes that are combined with cultural heritage and excellent scientific, educational and tourist infrastructure such as the Cave of the Lakes with the 13 amazing underground lakes, the spring waters of the Aroanios river in Planitero, the Gorge of Vouraikos river with the outstanding Diakopto – Kalavrita Odontotos rack railway, the beautiful mountain lakes of Tsivlou and Doxa, the mythical waters of Styx, the facilities of the Environmental Educational Centre of Klitoria - Akrata, the facilities of the Ski Center, the Aristarchos Telescope etc.
The enormous ecological interest of the Geopark depends on its floristic and faunal richness, as it hosts a great number of plant and animal species - including Greek endemic, endemic of Peloponnese and local endemic species. The aforementioned floristic richness is combined with the extensive presence of fir and black pine forests, as well as forests of broad - leaved oak to a lesser extent, giving a distinct ecological and aesthetic value to the mountainous landscape. The fauna of the region is also remarkable both at National as well as at European level, as it includes a large number of insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Responsible for the conservation, protection and good management of the geodiversity and biodiversity of the area, which is characterized as natural heritage of national and global importance, is the Management Body of Chelmos - Vouraikos, established in 2002 and supervised by the Ministry of Environment and Energy. The most important, among other, actions of the Management Body are the geodiversity conservation, the programs of recording and monitoring abiotic and biotic parameters of threatened ecosystems and rare species of flora and fauna in the area, the organization of environmental education programs as well as the guided tours within the Geopark.
The protection and rational management of the area with the excellent natural, geomorphological and geological heritage, the development and stimulation of local socio-economic activities through the promotion of the region's distinct character (natural and cultural resources, tradition, local cuisine) and the active participation of the residents and local authorities are among the most important objectives of the Chelmos - Vouraikos Geopark.