A book about the Hague Forest to better preserve it

A book introduced by CharlElie Couture, there aren’t a ton of them. But a book that tells the story of the Hague Forest, there is only one! A unique story, what’s more. The association FLORE 54, an ardent defender of the conservation of Lorraine’s flora and fauna since 1983, undertook the task. During her struggle to obtain the classification of the Haye forest as a protection forest from 2006 to 2018, she realized that no book existed on the subject.

The classification in protection forest, why?

Precisely because the forest was threatened. Between 2005 and 2006 alone, 300 hectares had to disappear under the graves, primarily around the Bois des Firasses. Two other motorway exits at Laxou and Villers-lès-Nancy were also on the agenda. As the inhabitants of Laxo, Nancy and Lorraine like to get lost there, and as this 11,400 hectare green setting is a veritable green lung in the southern part of the Meurthe-et-Moselle, perhaps it was worth protecting it.

It is from there that in 2006 three associations, including FLORE 54, requested the classification of the Hague Forest as a protected forest under Article L411.1 of the Forest Act. What interest? This is the most protective legal status for a forest. It makes it possible to avoid any clearing and any new urbanization or development project that would undermine its integrity. In short, if the forest is classified, it can no longer be touched. Only, it was not an easy task… A hard twelve-year battle awaited the militants at the end of which they had the end of the story in 2018. Our beautiful massif has thus become the third largest forest in France classified.

The Hague Forest bordering the conquest of the Mosel. In geology, catchment is the diversion of one watercourse to another. Here, the conquest of the Mosel took place at the end of the ice age. She gradually dug the bed of an ancient stream to annex it (Photo credits: FLORE 54)

From a booklet to a 168-page book

It was there, in the midst of a legal guerilla war, that the activists realized that no book about the Hague Forest existed. ” What?! Are you telling me that nothing exists in a forest that has existed since the Celts and where all the local children got lost?! Have you seen the variety of mammals, reptiles and amphibians hiding there? Even they didn’t think so.

So strong in their local roots with historians, naturalists, geographers and so on, FLORE 54, and especially its president Raynald Rigolot, get it into their heads to publish a little booklet filled with all the knowledge gathered over the years. A work that was supposed to last three months took four years to give birth in 2021 to a 168-page book. Whoa. That is, if there are things to tell.

Raynald Rigolot, president of the FLORE 54 association, with the book about the Hague forest (Photo credits: Fanny PERRETTE for the BLE Lorraine group)

A true forest encyclopedia

Inside are listed all the special conditions in the Hague forest. Namely, its landscapes, its biodiversity, its diversified fauna, its remarkable flora, the soil ecosystem, the management of the forest and water, its archeology and its plural history. Yes, a real little encyclopedia! The history of its classification is also a part of it.

Finally, budding cartographers will also have the pleasure of finding a complete map of the Hague Forest. “During the writing of the book, we realized that IGN, the National Institute for Geographic and Forest Information, no longer included the plot numbers on its maps”, says Raynald Rigolot, offended by the decision. So he and the little hands in civic services stick to it. This large plan describes, among other things, the water towers, the entrances to the mines, the entrances to the caves, the various roads and exploitation paths, the military area, the streams, the protected areas… A real work of ants!

The loops of the Moselle offer many tourist activities such as climbing on Maron’s limestone rock, represented here (Photo: FLORE 54)

For the last word, remember that FLORE 54 received the “Grand Prix de l’Académie Stanislas 2018” for all its activities in favor of the environment, including of course the action on the ranking of the Hague forest. So to continue to support them, this beautiful book is available everywhere for the modest sum of fifteen euros.

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