Ecological management in the Frontenpark
Since June 2019, Maastricht has gained more than twenty hectares of city park: the Frontenpark. Situated on the edges of the historic city centre and the bustling Sphinxkwartier, the Frontenpark is a counterpart to the city park on the south side of the city centre. Years of neglect have allowed nature - especially in the Lage Fronten - free rein. Through ecological management, the CNME (Centre for Nature and Environment Education) stimulates natural processes and thereby increases biodiversity.
Nature amidst history
The Frontenpark is filled with remnants of historical fortifications and the industrial past. Fortifications, casemates, but also railway yards and stretches of rails with sleepers. With all their cracks, grooves and holes these are ideal for plants and animals. In both the Hoge and Lage Fronten, native plants such as (among others) knotweed, small scabious, wild marjoram and the small pimpernel thrive. Beavers and swans have nestled in the Lage Fronten, just like the wall lizard, which is unique to the Netherlands. But other animal species such as slow worms, bats, common kingfishers, butterflies and foxes also feel at ease in the rough and rugged environment of the Frontenpark.
Management with care
The CNME cuts and prunes the Frontenpark with care. Flowers wither and are only cut after spreading their seeds. Sheep are also put to good use wherever possible. Seeds stick to the sheep's fleece while grazing and are thus spread further. The result of this careful management is already visible in the Hoge Fronten. In the Lage Fronten this will take a while, because during the years of construction of the new Noorderbrug route, maintenance had to be scaled down. The aim of the CNME is to further increase biodiversity in the Lage Fronten in the years to come.
Strolling along natural hiking trails
Tightly beaten hiking trails do not fit in with the Frontenpark. Hikers wander along natural hiking trails that are during summer months lined with blossoming field flowers and vicious thistles. Beavers contribute to maintenance in their own way, but remain virtually invisible. Only their artful gnawing works proves that they regard the Frontenpark to be their permanent residence. Swans that raise their young in the Frontenpark are very much present. Father, mother and young spend during the summer most of their time in the shallow and cool water, but from time to time the swans run into passers-by. And if it's up to the CNME, this will not change. These encounters with wild animals make walking in the Frontenpark a special treat.
Do's and don'ts
There are (a few) rules in the rough and rugged Frontenpark. These are mainly meant to protect the precious plants and animals and to maintain the current dynamics. For example, it is not allowed to fish and/or swim in the water of the Lage Fronten. Road signs alert hikers to the wall lizards who like to enjoy the sunshine on the footpaths. Furthermore the lower part of the Hoge Fronten is completely closed off from March to November. This gives young animals the chance to grow up without disturbance. Dogs are of course welcome, but on a leash. And just as in any other nature reserve, it's nice when visitors clean up rubbish and dog feces. Will you help us to keep the Frontenpark safe and free from rubbish?
Frontenpark in the picture
Thanks to our photographers Fred Berghmans and Jonathan Vos we have an extensive collection of photographs of both the Frontenpark and it's surroundings. From wall lizards to large swans: animals thrive in the Frontenpark.