Increasing the impact humans are having without doing anything to stop it is, to our minds, unforgivable. European, national, and local standards as well as international agreements require everyone to take steps against damage to nature. This means everyone is responsible for looking after what is in their own back yard.
We believe it’s not only appropriate but imperative that we all act, starting with a small but meaningful step: to regulate vehicle use around the Sella passes (Pordoi, Sella, Gardena and Campolongo) on a trial basis starting this summer. We hope that the renewed quiet on the passes will mean everyone can rediscover the music of the Dolomites, all too often drowned out by thundering engines in the summer months.
It’s up to us, residents and visitors alike, to decide whether to let things continue as they are or imagine a rosy future, as rosy as the Dolomites at sunset when they’re drenched in enrosadaria. The enrosadaria inspired our pink logo, whose values we’d like everyone to embody. You can’t build a future by exploiting the earth. You can only do so by finding joy in things other than consumption, in the quiet song and love for life and nature. Love for ourselves. Let’s remember how small we are, so that we can start to think big. Turn off the engine, and come alive.
There are already so many issues caused by the heavy traffic on the passes in the summer, including:
1 - Acoustic stress and atmospheric pollution
Too much traffic, overcrowding, all sorts of pollution – this all impacts the quality of life of current and future residents, animals, and vegetation.
2 - Disrespect
Some people recklessly treat the Dolomite passes as racing circuits. This has to stop.
3 - Trash
So many day-trippers pass through here that in summer the huts on the passes risk becoming fast food outlets, as tourists leave trash, wrappers, and plastic scattered all over the place. Is this the food and tourism model we want to follow?
4 - No Peace and quiet
Walking and cycling in the Dolomites is a lifelong dream for millions. Cycling tourism and slow tourism are booming, and heavy vehicle traffic on our passes in the summer has a negative impact on the experience other visitors have. Turning Sella tours into car-free experiences and promoting alternative transport – with a focus on bikes – which have a lower impact on the environment is a lucrative endeavour.
5 - Rich countries on the Dolomite's Ring Road, poor and disadvantaged ones on the margins
Regulating access to the passes will mean visitors spread out more, visiting areas not directly connected to the passes. This will boost hospitality in those more remote areas, benefitting local people.
6 - No chance of becoming the world’s biggest and most famous nature reserves
These are the opportunities we’re missing out on. Politicians, civil servants, hoteliers, visitors: we may be eking out some economic benefit from our industries right now, but that won’t last forever. We have to get to grips with this. Take some time to think about the opportunities that might pass us by. Let’s protect the heritage of the Dolomites without shouting about UNESCO all the time. If we take one step backwards, we can quickly take three steps forward towards a better future for everyone.
Our pilot project aims to restrict traffic around the Sella Dolomites’passes in summer 2023. Closing the roads to motor vehicles for two hours might not seem like much, but it has a powerful symbolic value. And we’ve got to start somewhere. This action is intended to be a continuation of the various provincial and/or regional projects and/or those of the individual valleys, supporting and strengthening the path towards reducing environmental impact, spurring institutions to act swiftly for the benefit of residents and tourists. Small steps all add up.
And what about the businesses working in tourism on and around the passes? Won’t their profits be hit? Absolutely not. Just look at the historic town and city centres: banning cars has boosted economic activity to the benefit of citizens and visitors alike, making our towns more attractive to tourists. People walking on the roads without dodging cars and having horns blaring around them make for happy businesses. Just close your eyes and imagine what it’d be like eating delicious food or walking surrounded by peace and quiet in the Dolomites. Open your eyes again. That dream can become a reality. It’s up to us.
Hours: closing roads to motor vehicles every day from 10:00-12:00, including Sundays and public holidays.
Date: 12 June - 24 September.
Passes: the four Dolomite passes of Gardena, Pordoi, Sella, and Campolongo. There’s the option of extending the scheme to Falzarego and Passo Giau (and more).
How: competent authorities (local police, Carabinieri, road police) would regulate traffic using appropriate signage, passing information downstream (as is done in the winter when passes are closed due to snow, or during summer cycling events).
In addition: checks on the roads between June and September from 09:00-20:00: speed, noise emissions, parking in areas where parking is prohibited, and general traffic code violations. Can be done using municipal resources (patrols) supported by the Provinces (sound monitoring equipment).
Car Is Over Scientific Committee
Luigi Casanova, Honorary president of Mountain Wilderness
Diego Cason, Sociologist specialising in tourism and geographic planning
Michil Costa, Innkeeper, businessman, chair of Maratona dles Dolomites and author of FuTurismo-Un accorato appello contro la monocultura turistica
Stefano Dell’Osbel, Architect and mobility expert, promoter of Treno Val Cordevole
Riccardo Dello Sbarba, Philosopher, journalist and local politician in Bolzano-Bozen, member of the Green group
Helmuth Moroder, Mobility consultant and engineer
Silvia Simoni, Environmental engineer
Luigi Spagnolli, Former mayor of Bolzano-Bozen and senator for Trentino Alto Adige Südtirol
Carlo Zanella, President of CAI Alto Adige Südtirol
Serena Rela, Francesco Ricci, Marlene Zanotti
Who’s taking part?
Associazione Dislivelli - Montagne in rete
CAI Alto Adige Südtirol
Climate Action South Tyrol
Dachverband für Natur-und Umweltschutz - Federazione Ambientalisti Alto Adige - Lia Provinziela per defender la Natura
Fridays For Future South Tyrol
Italia Nostra Trentino
Landesleitung AVS - Alpenverein Südtirol
Lia per Natura y Usanzes
Maratona dles Dolomites
Mountain Wilderness Italia