|History of the GR20|
The history of the GR20 hike is linked to the 1970s, the transition years for Corsican regionalist protest (environmental and cultural).During this time Corsica’s Parc Naturel Régional was established, 15 May 1972.
The creation of the Park aimed to get around the problem of population drain in the villages in the interior of the island. The aim was to develop the ancient transhumance trails between villages to revive mountain pastures and also to develop what we now call “tourisme vert”.
The idea for a trail that crossed Corsica from North to South via the island’s principal massifs was started by Michel Fabrickant, a mountaineer who had fallen for the charms of the Corsican mountains.
The first traces of the GR20 hike in 1972 were thanks to him, shortly followed by the creation of the Park. The next stage in the development saw the progressive establishment of mountain refuges.
|The GR20 today|
The GR20 hike was originally conceived for the very sporty, with little comfort. For a long time it attracted experienced mountain enthusiasts, capable of carrying 25 kilos back-packs. Food and drinks could only be bought in the villages, which meant re-descending to the valleys. The refuges were managed by the Parc Régional and its agents. The selling of food was prohibited. It was during the 1990s that the GR20 hike really gained international recognition and "trek" status amongst the world’s finest walks. The motives behind its success are numerous, but the main cause is the onset of walking as a hobby for the masses.
This success is equally due to the pioneers of walking in Corsica and the first associations to have commercialised the discipline. This proof of a profitable mountain economy accelerated the process of professional development, for example mountain guide training. Today, the GR20 is sold with luggage transfers, so people carry 8 kilo bags instead of 25. The Park delegated the management of the refuges to wardens (shepherds, guides, muleteers). You now find all necessary supplies in the refuges; evening meals, breakfast, drinks (coffee, wines, beers).