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The Gurrida Lake is a unique element inside Etna Park. It is the only wet area near the volcano and it is a place where you can admire many migrating birds, especially during winter and spring. The lake is seasonally fed by the Flascio stream. This is a small river that throughout the centuries has been a tributary of alternately Simeto or Alcantara, until the 1536 eruption blocked its flow for good. This caused the formation of the Gurrida Lake. In the past many drainage works have been made to alleviate the risk of flooding after increases in the level of the stream. For this reason the lake has been created, together with a nearby area that is flooded in a controlled way during the high season. Nearby the lake there is a series of vineyards. They belong to the “Gurrida” Company and during the periods of high season they are flooded. This is an amazing phenomenon, made possible by the work of nature and mankind. However, this beautiful scenery is today threatened. A few years ago, the natural path “Gurrida” was created. It had wooden ramps to allow wheelchair users to pass over the flooded vineyards below. There were also two bird watching cabins and it was possible to go around the lake. We should thank Francesco, who has sent us some pictures that show the area with the flooded vineyards Gurrida lake nature trail:  with the flooded vineyards and also the wooden ramps built to pass over the wet area Gurrida lake nature trail:  pass over the wet area. Today the conditions of the path have completely changed.

The starting point is just outside the Randazzo residential area, going along the SS 120 towards the direction of Maletto. After a few kilometres there are signs for Murazzo Rotto and after that, on the left, there is a sign for the Gurrida path. You will pass a building materials company and finally you get to the entrance to the “Gurrida” Company Gurrida lake nature trail:  the entrance to the “Gurrida” Company,inside which you find the path.

We start walking and we immediately spot the first signs of devastation:the first part of the ramp, the one that should allow you to go over the water during the winter, has been completely destroyed by a fire. Gurrida lake nature trail:  has been completely destroyed by a fire. The remaining sections of the ramp are completely covered by brambles Gurrida lake nature trail:  completely covered by brambles. It is possible to avoid the ramp by taking a small path that goes around it, or walking along the vineyard Gurrida lake nature trail:  walking along the vineyard, if the area is not flooded. We walk for a while under the ramp and we go up again Gurrida lake nature trail:  we go up again to join the original path. The observation point n°2 Gurrida lake nature trail:  The observation point n°2 is in theory dedicated to the landscape. But looking around you all you can see is an unmaintained landscape and squalor. We keep on going until we see the fork in the path Gurrida lake nature trail:  until we see the fork in the path that brings us to the “Ferrovia Circumetnea” train station. We go to the right until we see the observation point number 3, dedicated to the observation of the birds. Unfortunately, the wooden cabin is almost completely destroyed Gurrida lake nature trail:  completely destroyed, and inside we also find a nests of wasps. We suggest NOT to go in, not unless you like surprises!

We keep on going to the left of the cabin. Unfortunately in this case the beauty of nature Gurrida lake nature trail:  the beauty of nature does not allow us to forget the several piles of rubbish Gurrida lake nature trail:  piles of rubbish which we see along the lake shore. On one side you see the unmaintained structures Gurrida lake nature trail:  the unmaintained structures, on the other beautiful red dragonflies Gurrida lake nature trail:  beautiful red dragonflies. We try to walk around the lake but we can't: a chain Gurrida lake nature trail:  a chain does not allow us to go on further. We go back to the birdwatching cabin and we try to go around the lake from the other side Gurrida lake nature trail:  lake from the other side. Again we find an obstruction. Someone has forced their way through it, and we can see a huge quantity of rubbish. Someone has even decided to hang this on strings Gurrida lake nature trail: decided to hang this on strings. We do not know what to think: nature is beautiful Gurrida lake nature trail:  nature is beautiful, but carelessness is simply devastating.

A frog looks at us from the water Gurrida lake nature trail:  A frog looks at us from the water, you could almost hear it saying “ What have you come here to do?” Etna's reflection on the lake (beautifully mirrored upon the surface) Gurrida lake nature trail:  Etna's reflection on the lake (beautifully mirrored upon the surface), gives us a unique picture that on its own makes our visit worthwhile, partly on the condition that you can ignore all the damage done.

We are awestruck. We were prepared for a completely different setting. On the official websites, the Gurrida path is described as “a path for everybody”, also suitable for wheelchair users, a paradise for migrating birds, a ramp over world-famous flooded vineyards. We have just found pure devastation. We have driven 50 kilometres to get to the lake, but many tourists must have travelled much further to get here while relying on what is written on many websites such as Parco dell’Etna, Parks.it, ParchiAccessibili.it and many more. Sadly they will have wasted a day of their holidays to walk in the middle of brambles and piles of rubbish rubbish. They may have thought they were going to visit a unique area on Etna and yet they ended up in cabin infested by wasps. Possibly the only consolation is that it could not have been much worse.



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