Maybe you already know about this, but all the 42,000 plane trees on the banks of the Canal du Midi have been affected by a disease that threatens to wipe them out. In order to rescue this wonderful heritage, Locaboat is sponsoring “Operation Replant the Canal du Midi”.
Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996, the Canal du Midi is an impressive feat of 17th-century engineering and one of Europe’s oldest canals that still remains navigable. It’s 240 km long and boasts 63 locks, 126 bridges and 55 aqueducts. Every year, it attracts millions of visitors from all over the world and almost 50,000 people on canal boat holidays. As the years and centuries have gone by, the Canal du Midi has also become recognised as an important natural resource: it’s fringed by 190,000 trees of various species and sizes, but the king of these is the plane tree.
Unfortunately, over the last few years, scientists have noticed the presence of a microscopic fungus that blocks the transmission of sap through the tree and causes it to die within two to five years. There is no cure, so the only solution is to fell the infected trees and burn them to prevent others being contaminated. Between 2006 and 2013, nearly 4,500 plane trees were destroyed. They must be replanted so that the beauty of this magnificent waterway is not spoilt.
That’s why Locaboat has become a partner of Voies Navigables de France (“French Navigable Waterways”, a public body that manages and maintains canals and rivers) in its appeal to companies to support the replanting programme on the Canal du Midi. You might like to know that when you take a boating holiday with Locaboat, you’re also acting as a sponsor and playing your part in this essential salvage operation!