Corse (GR20): this summer (due to Covid19)?

Julija_v

Posted: Tue, Apr 28, 2020, 21:11

Hi all!
Any knowledgeable opinion as to chances this year to go to Corse for hiking?
How Corse is getting on with virus, is it as bad as in continental France?
Since the flights from our country (Latvia, modestly affected) to Nice will restart at the end of June.. So I thought, they (airlines) should know something.. ;)
Month ago our flight scheduled on July was cancelled.. And some friends says that France will remain closed for tourists for long..

Regards,
Julija



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, May 1, 2020, 11:41

It's too early to make any plans. The next stage in France is that people will be allowed to travel 100km from home, but Corsica is more than 100km from France. No-one in France will be able to go there, so no-one from anywhere else in the world will be able to go there. Corsica is divided into two 'Departments' and the northern half is currently a 'red zone' for the virus, though the authorities on the island have no idea why the French government have declared it that way. (That's today's situation. It could be different tomorrow!) The tourism chiefs are worried about how they will handle things, because they might have to limit the number of people visiting the island and they might still have to have social distance measures in place for some time. If too many people visit all at the same time, they need to be sure that food imports will be available to feed them all. I think you would be VERY lucky to be able to walk the GR20 in June... but keep checking... because no-one really knows how quickly or slowly things will change.



Julija_v

Posted: Fri, May 1, 2020, 18:42

Many thanks for such a detailed overview!
I have aimed for the end of August (if all of us are lucky), not June (it’s just that flights to Nice starts at the end of June by our airline).
Take care and stay safe!

Julija



SQFP

Posted: Sat, May 2, 2020, 13:50

As of yesterday, the latest news by the park's authorities were:
- outdoor activities are allowed again nationwide starting May 11th (for local residents only, due to the 100-km rule)
- refuges, hostels, and other group accommodation are to remain closed till June due to obvious concerns for public health.

Even in the event of a progressive lifting of bans and restrictions, common sense alone dictates to avoid or delay trans-regional and international travels as much as possible... pending further developments.

edit: the French govt just announced it will enforce quarantine for foreigners entering France, Corsica, and its overseas territories (...not clear to me whether quarantine would also apply to nationals entering said islands)

--

Geologist in Corsica



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sun, May 3, 2020, 7:14

Thank you SQFP, please do keep us updated on the current situation about rules and regulations concerning the pandemia on the island.

--Michele



Julija_v

Posted: Sun, May 3, 2020, 19:51

Thanks a lot! Me and my friend would highly appreciate to be updated on the subject.
Good luck!

Julija



SQFP

Posted: Tue, May 5, 2020, 18:50

As of today, France partly reverted its decision and will not enforce quarantine for EU/Schengen/UK citizens entering the country.
Still unclear whether foreigners, once within the country's limits, are bound by any further rule.

--

Geologist in Corsica



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, May 4, 2020, 11:00

From now onwards, getting to Corsica is going to be the hard part, then you still have to wait and see what you're allowed to do once you get there. The mountain guides are very pessimistic about their businesses this summer. After the lockdown started, some of the refuges were visited by the police. They found what they thought was a hiker in the Refuge de Sega, but it turned out to be an Italian criminal on the run! A Swiss woman was found in a bergerie and was sent home.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, May 7, 2020, 7:12

... it turned out to be an Italian criminal on the run ..... LOL



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, May 8, 2020, 14:01

This was how the story unfolded at the end of March. If it had been reported on 1st April I would have said it was an April Fool's Day joke!

https://www.corsematin.com/articles/confinement-un-randonneur-verbalise-...

https://www.corsematin.com/articles/confinement-recherche-depuis-2017-il...



MartinS

Posted: Mon, May 18, 2020, 3:51

Coming back to the original question, I wonder what conditions have to be met to enable hiking on the GR20 in general?

First, we will need to be able to get there of course. If flights don't operate, it should still be possible as long as ferries do and the French border will be open. At present these two conditions look positive I'd say.

Second, which degree of service do we need at the refuges/bergeries? I imagine the bare minimum would be raw food supplies together with cooking facilities, sanitary facilities and the possibility to pitch your own tent. How realistic would that be?

One step better would be the serving of meals, be it in or outside, and the availability of rental tents. Still more likely than the opening of the indoor mattress dormitories, right?

In case services at some of the refuges are limited/unavailable, how far could we get with the help of the bergeries? Those should have an even higher probability to be open, as they are pursuing their own farming business, correct?

Also, the status of the hotels at Haut Asco, Col de Vergio and Vizzavona/Tattone would matter. But that may be hard to tell in advance.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Mon, May 18, 2020, 7:44

Martin,

Let's suppose they open the trail for tourists. Here are a few things to consider.
The hygienic conditions on the Gr20 have never been its strongest suit and we all know it. But we are hikers/backpackers and we tend to compromise. However, with the currest state of the pandemic the first thing I would do is to steer clear of the refuges as much as possible, at least this year. Bedbugs aside, refuges and bergeries have never shown to be following the current sanitary standards whatsoever and we always closed both eyes on this ... but not this year. So if you really must walk the trail this summer my recommendation would be to try and stay away from people as much as possible, buy and carry your own food whenever possible and - of course - sleep in your own tent (FORGET THE PARK TENTS: THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN SANITISED IN THE PAST!!!). And be careful what you touch when using the toilet/shower facilities.
Just my 2 cents

--Michele



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, May 18, 2020, 17:01

There are still too many things that no-one knows.

Flights and ferries - no idea when they will be ready to take anyone to Corsica.
Refuges - no idea what the plan is to staff and supply those places.
Bergeries - maybe the farmers will go to the mountains, or maybe they won't.
Mountain Guides - some of them already think they have lost the entire summer season.

On the other hand, if you CAN get to Corsica and if you CAN walk the GR20 this summer, then it should be possible to walk safely, so long as you avoid crowded situations. That might be difficult on flights, ferries, buses and trains. The thought of wearing a mask on hot and crowded transport makes me sweat! If you have your own tent you can avoid crowded refuges and those grubby hire tents. You should buy and cook your own food, to avoid those cramped picnic tables at the refuges, but that only works if they take supplies into the mountains, otherwise you have to carry it all. Some of the camping spaces can get crowded, such as Carrozzo, and it isn't easy to arrange an itinerary that misses sites such as those.

It's going to be an interesting year on the trail and I look forward to hearing reports from anyone who goes there. I'm glad I went late last year, because if I hadn't done that, the plan was to go early this year. It's worth remembering that the burnt-out Refuge d'Orto di u Piobbu was still in ruins last September, so don't expect it to be rebuilt any time this year.

The guardian of the Usciolo refuge died only a few weeks ago, so someone else will have to be appointed to run the place. Keeping the Usciolo foodstore stocked with such an amazing variety of stuff will be hard work for whoever takes on the job. The previous guardian did it regularly with a team of horses.



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, May 18, 2020, 22:49

https://www.corsematin.com/articles/reouverture-des-refuges-le-parc-natu...

This is where they are with opening the GR20 refuges



MartinS

Posted: Tue, May 19, 2020, 0:18

Merci beaucoup GRRR20, for this excellent information!



Julija_v

Posted: Tue, May 19, 2020, 20:19

Vraiment merci beaucoup à tous les monde pour cette information! :)

As for me and my friend we’ll have to wait until they make rental tents available. Due to the weight we can’t take even the lightest one.
I hope that maybe by midst or end July, if epidemy is over by that time..

Julija



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, May 20, 2020, 13:36

Today on the FB page of the Parc naturel régional de Corse you could read:

****************

In order to allow a gradual resumption of the activity of its GR20 shelters ( final date will be communicated to you by mid-June 2020) while guaranteeing the possibility of the opening of structures taking into account a protocol currently being developed at national level and with the Prefecture of Corsica and the sub-prefectures, the Joint Syndicate of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica - Parcu di Corsica communicates:
- Taking into account the health recommendations for social distancing to be respected and the sanitary conditions allowing the safe opening of GR20 refuges and adjoining bivouac areas, a reservation of overnight stays must be made via the reservation center of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica (https://pnr-resa.corsica/) ”

Thank you for your attention

*****************

It's not clear if in this situation even the tent pitches must be reserved mandatorily or not.

--Michele



GRRR 20

Posted: Wed, May 20, 2020, 17:46

I guess social distancing is impossible inside the refuge buildings, and on the tables they use for meals. Then again, I don't think they're going to get the usual big numbers of visitors, so there will be a bit more space available. The main thing is, you can't trek on the GR20 unless you can get to Corsica in the first place. It will be interesting to see how all this works out, and it would be great if someone would report back here about conditions on the trail.

There's no point rushing there yet. There was an avalanche in the Restonica valley, so the mountains won't be safe for trekkers for at least another few weeks.

The guardian who looked after the Refuge d'Usciolu died last month. I hope the new guardian keeps that wonderful foodstore stocked with good stuff.