11 years Andros Routes – the results & the current risks

on the occasion of what happened on the hiking route no. 19 in Fragaki…

The non-profit organization “Center for Modern Research & Action for Andros”, known as the “Andros Research Center” (ARC),  has just completed 11 years of operation. It is well known for developing the Andros Routes project, which has been operating since 2009 on Andros, and for devising the two multi-day Andros on Foot Hiking Festivals, which took place for the first time in October 2018 and then again in October 2019.

ARC has worked quietly for the past 11 years. Although the work is of a significant volume and multifaceted in nature much of this work goes unnoticed. However over time, the Andros Routes project has grown to a support organization of around 40 volunteers today.  It is an organization that operates primarily through voluntary efforts,  with support from some private sponsorships, as well as through its revenues  (from multiple sources  such as map & book sales, private and business subscriptions, donations from travel agencies abroad, etc.),

Over the years, a network of 180km hiking trails which extends right across the island of Andros, has been mapped, opened, waymarked,  and maintained.

European certification

In 2015, the Andros Routes project completed an important project for Andros:  European Certification for the continuous 100km Andros Route that runs through Andros from north to south and passes through important monuments and landscapes of the island.

The European Quality Certification “Leading Quality Trails-Best of Europe” was awarded in October 2015 by the President of the European Hikers Federation to Andros Routes, for the first time. The award was presented in a special ceremony to the Andros Routes volunteer team, the then Mayor, Theodosis Sousoudis and the then Prefect Dimitris Lotssaris. This award was a proud moment for the people of the island and contributed significantly to the gradual increase of hiking tourism and the extension of the tourist season in Andros.

 

Since then, the Andros Routes volunteers (known as Route Angels) have continued the route maintenance work with few problems but with hard work. They regularly cleared and waymarked the paths,  in collaboration with many of the cultural associations of Andros, created new circular routes to highlight and increase the usage of the tracks, for the benefit of both residents and visitors of Andros.

Many promotional actions of the Andros hiking infrastructure were designed and implemented by the management team of the project.

There have been dozens of distinctions and articles in the national, European and international press regarding the great hiking terrain of Andros,  the loving care of the routes and the inspirational promotion of the Andros Routes infrastructure (listed below in links).

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List of important publications during 2020-2014
  1. Εθνικός Τύπος Μ. Βρετανίας, – The Τelegraph- https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/greece/galleries/best-greek-islands/greek-9/ 
  2. Radio podcast- The fishbowl – http://www.thefishbowl.gr/13-monopatia-tis-elladas/?fbclid=IwAR2XxanjmYBzq4Za19_Yx09Bk3WYSAQvN-Xoa7BBMoje-a4lM3yPPJ2l-dI
  3. Εθνικός περιοδικός Τύπος- Diablog https://diablog.eu/el/allgemein-el/anakalyptontas-tin-andro-me-ta-podia/?fbclid=IwAR3P0cAbzYQ3y0arKwAhC2amJoonkSV8SMNbv-ILI_XS5GpmeZSdbzFMTQw
  4. Εθνικός Τύπος – in.gr –  https://www.in.gr/2020/04/28/plus/diakopes/idees-gia-taksidia/andros-polos-elksis-gia-tous-latreis-tis-pezoporias/
  5. https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-ingr/
  6. Εθνικό τηλεοπτικό κανάλι-Καφές με την Ελένη –  https://www.facebook.com/pourgourisch/videos/10163543153775072
  7. Εθνικός Τύπος- Καθημερινή  https://www.kathimerini.gr/1080887/article/ta3idia/ta3idiwtika-nea/sths-androy-tis-e3oxes
  8. Εθνικός Τύπος Μ. Βρετανίας, Sunday Times https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/plan-now-go-later-25-secret-islands-in-europe-mlcq9p56l
  9. Εθνικός Τύπος, Καθημερινή αναδημοσίευση Sunday times https://www.kathimerini.gr/1084026/article/epikairothta/ellada/sunday-times-andros-to-mystiko-nhsi-ths-eyrwphs-xwris-synwstismo https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-sunday-times-kathimerini/
  10. Εθνικός Τύπος- Newsbeast -αναδημοσίευση Sunday times https://www.newsbeast.gr/travel/arthro/6403630/sunday-times-i-andros-stin-koryfi-tis-eyropis-me-ta-25-mystika-nisia-choris-synostismo  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-sunday-times-newbeast-lifo-athens-voice/
  11. Lifo -αναδημοσίευση Sunday times https://www.lifo.gr/now/greece/287272/times-5-ellinika-nisia-sti-lista-me-toys-mageytikoys-proorismoys-xoris-synostismo  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-sunday-times-newbeast-lifo-athens-voice/
  12. Αθηναϊκός Τύπος-Athens voice -αναδημοσίευση Sunday times https://www.athensvoice.gr/greece/657939_andros-o-koryfaios-proorismos-horis-synostimo-stin-eyropi   https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-sunday-times-newbeast-lifo-athens-voice/
  13. Εθνικός Τύπος Ολλανδίας,- Op weg https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-op-weg/
  14. Εθνικός Τύπος – CNN Ελλάδας αναφορά https://www.cnn.gr/taksidi/ellada/story/226469/agia-eirini-androy-mia-monadiki-periptosi-monastirioy-moyseioy?fbclid=IwAR21JAOU4MByu5_3iJGoQzIqjq5r_AW7aH19Ckei2lb7hd0lb9HevE-Bhik   https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  15. Εθνικός Τύπος – CNN Ελλάδας https://www.cnn.gr/taksidi/ellada/story/226558/pos-i-andros-egine-enas-apo-toys-koryfaioys-proorismoys-stin-eyropi-gia-pezoporia?fbclid=IwAR1bl-ZgSjZWK6-G4q8veMSAAhLcE-kXw8SQxGL-Q8i9bUIJdwJEZbG5OLQ  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  16. Εθνικός Τύπος – CNN Ελλάδας https://www.cnn.gr/taksidi/ellada/story/226458/andros-ena-diamanti-sto-aigaio?fbclid=IwAR1PL14z_g9bNPzZmhvfaTbPIFZBxkVgEG5oxCu2p1fu_UVSrLL4oDX9VdY   https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  17. Εθνικός Τύπος – CNN Ελλάδας https://www.cnn.gr/taksidi/ellada/video/226669/h-andros-stoys-koryfaioys-proorismoys-tis-eyropis-gia-pezoporia?fbclid=IwAR3R4B92kyWQ3M4QXZ6Lcerfzl5nOL8bY_tFyu04NUcClMStzCDaDfDXVA0  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  18. WEB TV – CNN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkNvM6eRckE&feature=emb_title&fbclid=IwAR3R4B92kyWQ3M4QXZ6Lcerfzl5nOL8bY_tFyu04NUcClMStzCDaDfDXVA0   https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  19. WEB TV – CNN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhNvbmwMuwI&fbclid=IwAR1TVmVYoNmKmCWoaxLnlJzUqwNX8Wo2g-vGoeidnR2A9Q7KVn0Ha4PZFsg https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  20. WEB TV – CNN  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ve0YYJiPOk&feature=emb_title&fbclid=IwAR2Tpmv6fjbcBOU7yjLBBHH3Ftnz22SD4uAtPsROGMSJpQwVWtMlhgHldZI    https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  21. WEB TV – CNN  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=day00MlbmIk&feature=emb_title&fbclid=IwAR2hULe2cpl98_p5Q4_IBE7Udu8G0TivV1WGyN7oCuHdqUSWVfa_xTAj51U   https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  22. Εθνικός Τύπος  Καθημερινή https://www.kathimerini.gr/k/travel/1089812/andros-chairesai-na-tin-perpatas/   https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-cnn-greece/
  23. Εθνικός Περιοδικός Τύπος, Αθηνόραμα https://www.athinorama.gr/travel/travelideas/articles.aspx?artid=2545022   https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-athinorama/
  24. Εθνικός Τύπος Μ. Βρετανίας, The Times https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/travel/25-spectacular-greek-island-breaks-qvxgcw8km?fbclid=IwAR3sbllOn3LxzL9rB2LQcc9EmWY1jZ2tYQBZo9dgZW76Wv07Qgb8bfyzdxg   https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2020-times/
  1. Εθνικός Τύπος Μ. Βρετανίας, The Sunday Timeshttps://www.thetimes.co.uk/ https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2019_sunday_times/
  2. Γερμανικός περιοδικός Τύπος- Hellas auf Deutsch https://hellasaufdeutsch.com/  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2019-hellas-auf-deutsch-das-reisemag/
  3. Ολλανδικός περιοδικός Τύπος- LYCHNARI https://www.lychnari.nl/  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2019_lychnari-holland/
  4. Εθνικός Τύπος Μ. Βρετανίας, The daily telegraph https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2019_sept_the_telegraph/
  5. Ισραηλινός εθνικός τύπος, Ηaaretz- premium Magazine https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/haaretz-premium-magazine/
  1. Tv- Εθνικό τηλεοπτικό κανάλι , ET3 https://webtv.ert.gr/  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/et3-24-hours-greece/
  2. Εθνικός Ολλανδικός Τύπος – de Volkstrant https://myprivacy.dpgmedia.net/?siteKey=PUBX2BuuZfEPJ6vF&callbackUrl=https://www.volkskrant.nl/privacy-wall/accept?redirectUri=%2f  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2018_de_volkstrant/
  3. Γαλλική περιοδική έκδοση Γαλλικής Ομοσπονδίας Πεζοπορίας – ffrandonneehttps://www.ffrandonnee.fr/  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/federation-fr/
  4. Ελληνικός τύπος – ΤΑΞΙΔΙΑ – ΚΑΘΗΜΕΡΙΝΗ https://www.kathimerini.gr/  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2018-kathimerini-andros-1st-may/
  5. Γερμανικός περιοδικός τύπος- Περιοδική έκδοση της Γερμανικής Ομοσπονδίας Πεζοπορίας LEADING QUALITY TRAILS BEST OF EUROPEhttp://www.era-ewv-ferp.com/programs/lqt/  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2018-best-of-europe-lqt/
  6. Εθνικός Τύπος – Καθημερινή https://www.kathimerini.gr/  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2018-june-kathimerini/
  7. Press- Ολλανδικός περιοδικός Τύπος – Happinez https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2018-happinez/
  8. Εθνικό τηλεοπτικό κανάλι – ΣΚΑΙ “ καλά νέα της ημέρας”  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2018_1st_andros_on_foot_festival_on_skai_news/
  9. Δημοτικός Ραδιοφωνικός Σταθμός  – Δημοτικό Ραδιόφωνο Ξάνθης https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AJpBXKjFOLGPkPQ&cid=A156AB8D28742D84&id=A156AB8D28742D84%21316&parId=A156AB8D28742D84%21188&o=OneUp  https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2018-dimotiko-radiofono-xanthis-sinedefksi/
  10.  Εθνικός Τύπος – Ταξίδια , Καθημερινή https://www.kathimerini.gr/    https://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2018_taxidia_kathimerini/
  1. Ολλανδικός περιοδικός τύπος – OPPAD http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2017_2016_dutch_hikers_promo/
  2. Ευρωπαϊκός περιοδικός τύπος  – Best of Europe https://issuu.com/androsroutes/docs/leading_quality_trails  http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/best-of-europe/
  3. Γερμανικός περιοδικός τύπος – Outdoor Welten http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/outdoorwelten-germany/
  4. Εθνικός περιοδικός τύπος Ελλάδας, ιντερνετική έκδοση – Αθηνόραμα http://www.athinorama.gr/travel/travelideas/articles.aspx?artid=2523543  http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/tribute-to-andros-athinorama/
  5. Εθνική ενημερωτική ιστοσελίδα Ελλάδας – Economy 365 http://www.economy365.gr/article/51558/andros-routes-mia-topiki-protovoylia-me-symmetohi-sti-diethni-toyristiki-provoli http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/economy365gr-androsroutes-tribute/
  6. Κυκλαδικός Τύπος, ιντερνετική έκδοση – Κοινή Γνώμη http://www.koinignomi.gr/news/koinonia/2017/07/07/paneyropaiki-proothisi-anamesa-stoys-kalyteroys.html
  7. Διεθνής τουριστικός ιστότοπος – AFAR https://www.afar.com/places/andros-routes-andros
  8. Ελληνικός τουριστικός ιστότοπος – All About Travel http://allabouttravel.gr/portfolio-items/andros-routes/
  9. Ελληνικός τουριστικός ιστότοπος – Ύπαιθρος http://www.ypaithros.gr/afieroma-andro-megalytero-periodiko-pezoporia-ollandia/
  10.  Ενημερωτική ιστοσελίδα Μ. Βρετανίας – We blog the world https://weblogtheworld.com/formats/photos/andros-greece#.WgDtSc1RQ0k.facebook http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2017-we-blog-the-world/
  1. Βελγικος περιοδικός τύπος – Knack Weekend http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2016_march_weekend-knack-be/ http://www.androsroutes.gr/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/andros-tinos-zuiderhuis.pdf
  2. Ελληνικός περιοδικός τύπος τουρισμού – Luxury Hotels , Luxury Seasons http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2016_luxury_hotels/
  3. Γερμανικός περιοδικός τύπος- Περιοδική έκδοση της Γερμανικής Ομοσπονδίας Πεζοπορίας LEADING QUALITY TRAILS BEST OF EUROPE https://issuu.com/androsroutes/docs/leading_quality_trails  http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/leading_quality_trails_2016/
  4. Τοπικός περιοδικός τύπος – ΕΥΑΝΔΡΟΣ http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2016_evandros/
  5. Επιστημονική Έκδοση – Νήσος Άνδρος  http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2016_nisos_andros_volume/
  6. Εθνικός περιοδικός τύπος, ιντερνετική έκδοση – Αθηνόραμα http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2016_athinorama/
  7. Εθνικός Τύπος Μ. Βρετανίας – The Guardian    https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/aug/05/walking-family-adventure-greek-island-holiday-andros-cyclades  http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2016_guardian_travel_section/
  1. Βιβλίο απευθυνόμενο στους Δανούς περιπατητές – Vandring i Europa http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/2016_danish_hikers_lis_nielsen/
  2. Εθνικός Τύπος – ‘K’, Καθημερινήhttp://www.androsroutes.gr/el/kathimerini_12_2015_androsroutes/
  1. Περιοδικός Τύπος Πορτογαλία – Second home tourism in Europe http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/collective-vol-second-home-june-2013/
  2. Επιστημονική Έκδοση – Νήσος Άνδρος http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/%ce%b4%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%bf%cf%83%ce%af%ce%b5%cf%85%cf%83%ce%b7-%cf%83%cf%84%ce%bf-%cf%80%ce%b5%cf%81%ce%b9%ce%bf%ce%b4%ce%b9%ce%ba%cf%8c-%ce%bd%ce%b7%cf%83%ce%bf%cf%83-%ce%b1%ce%bd%ce%b4%cf%81%ce%bf/
  3. Γερμανικός περιοδικός Τύπος -Οδηγός της Γερμανικής Ορειβατικής Ομοσπονδίας.http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/deutscher_wanderverband_2015/ http://www.androsroutes.gr/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ADV_Andros-korrigiert_final.pdf
  4. Εθνικός περιοδικός Τύπος – Χρήμα και Τουρισμός http://www.androsroutes.gr/el/publication_tourism_magazine/  http://www.androsroutes.gr/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/andros-parousiasi.pdf

In October 2018, following a thorough audit by the European Hiking Federation experts, the European quality certification was again awarded for the 100km route Andros Route, by the President of the European Hiking Federation. It is valid for another three years. The award ceremony was held during the first multi-day Andros Hiking Festival, “1st Andros on Foot Festival”, which lasted for 23 days and included the three-day conference of the 2nd Panhellenic Trails Meeting. This meeting was organized for the first time in Andros by the Andros Routes team. 2019 saw the organization of the second Andros Hiking Festival, “2nd Andros on Foot Festival” which lasted 16 days.

The Andros Routes network has been taken care of by the Andros Route Angels team for the past 11  years, up until today, with smooth and efficient activity all year round. As a result, Andros island is well promoted internationally; the island’s inhabitants, visitors from Greece, and from all over the world, are aware and acquainted with, the natural and cultural heritage of Andros.

Opposing forces: the protection & promotion of paths against encroachment & accidents

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, the project volunteers returned to the area to complete the marking and to check for any developments in the condition of the route. During their time at the trail, they put up signage and took photos.

Leaving the area and approaching the inaccessible dirt road to the deserted location leading to the junction for Plaka, the volunteers were stopped by three representatives of the Andros Police. The latter asked them to show their travel documents which they did. The senior police officer who was present did not accept the papers and charged fines. When asked who had notified the police and why they had not visited on the day requested by the project volunteers,  he refused to answer. He did the same when asked to speak with the volunteers’ legal advisers.

Subsequently,it has been reported,on a local website that the project volunteers prevented the passage and operation of the construction machinery of the wind farm. This never happened.

The time of publication, a few hours after the event, creates severe concerns for the operation of the institutions on the island of Andros. In contrast, the way of writing this publication is an insult to the work of our organization, the personality of the representatives of the management of our organization and the character of our volunteers.

The imposition of a fine on volunteers of our organization while traveling for the exercise of their voluntary work for the maintenance of the island’s hiking trails, creates severe obstacles to the smooth care of the network of trails of the island,  a contractual obligation to maintain the European certification.

The work planned for the next months is to update the waymarking and signage, to improve the access issues in several parts of the hiking network, and to pass the evaluation criteria for the renewal of the European certification. This is an imminent action due in a few months; all require several months planning to prepare the network for scrutiny by the experts of the European Hiking Federation.

Over the past 11 years, the volunteers of the Andros Routes project, have developed and taken care on an annual basis, this vital infrastructure for tourism, health and quality of life of the inhabitants of Andros. They deserve respect and help in their work.

The hiking infrastructure of Andros is not only about tourism as it is used more and more by the inhabitants of the island. They combine their daily exercise with the enjoyment of nature, the cultural heritage and the landscapes that our island generously offers. Hiking infrastructures, not only in Andros but throughout Europe and the world, seem to be gaining new content and value for local communities in the current phase of the pandemic, as more and more people in lockdown periods are looking for a way out by practising safety in nature for better health. This extremely positive development, perhaps one of the only positives of the pandemic, was clearly visible on Andros from March through the summer and again at this time.

Taking care of the public hiking infrastructure of Andros is the duty of the authorities. The ancient paths are not only public spaces, but they are an element of the cultural heritage of Andros and an essential resource for the tourism of the island, regardless of whether disasters occur from construction work, road widening or from infrastructure work for the wind farms.

The volunteers who take care of the maintenance of the hiking infrastructure of Andros are the custodians of the paths and need practical support from the local authorities, both in their work and in cases of issues.

The ban on movement for their work on the trails, not only puts the project of maintenance and protection of the hiking infrastructure of Andros at risk but calls into question the renewal of the European quality certification for 2021.

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