A natural site to be protected
The history of the Cantalien Massif began about 13Ma ago with the beginning of its volcanic activity. During 10Ma, this activity made and undid the Cantal volcano. Then the glaciers shaped mountains and valleys. For several decades, actions have been put in place to protect this exceptional natural site. The aim of these actions is not to put the territory under a bell, but on the contrary to allow everyone to enjoy it while respecting it, and to help its economic development.
In 1965, 65 hectares around Le Puy Mary were classified. They were listed under the law of 2 May 1930, the purpose of which was to “reorganise the protection of natural monuments and sites of an artistic, historical, scientific, legendary or picturesque nature, in order to protect this exceptional natural heritage”.
The Regional Natural Park of the Volcanoes of Europe
In 1977, as soon as it was created, the Monts du Cantal were integrated into the Regional Natural Park of the Volcanoes of Europe (Parc Naturel Régional des Volcans d’Auvergne – PNRVA). This Regional Natural Park is the largest in France, it covers 388,957 hectares, 147 communes, and is composed of 4 volcanic regions (Cézallier, Monts du Cantal, Monts Dore, Monts Dômes) and a granite region (Artense).
In 1985, the classification of the site increased from 65 hectares (around Puy Mary) to 8,535 hectares of crests and valleys of the Monts du Cantal.
In 1995, landscape and site enhancement studies were carried out.
Operation Grand Site
In 1999, Operation Grand Site (OGS) was launched for Puy Mary. At the same time, the Syndicat Mixte du Puy Mary was created, its mission is to manage the site and obtain the label by 2010.
Label Grand Site de France
On 12 December 2012, Puy Mary will be awarded the label « Grand Site de France » by ministerial decree, Madame Delphine Batho.
The Grand Site de France Puy Mary – Volcan du Cantal thus becomes the 12ᵉ Grand Site has obtained the label (obtained for 6 years renewable). From 2018, the Syndicat Mixte du Puy Mary has worked to renew the label. The label was obtained on 8 April 2019 with the signing of the decree by François de Rugy, Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition.