Saltpans WWF Reserve
The Salt Road goes from Trapani to Marsala: along its course lay the suggestive Saltpans.
The wide ponds are full of sea water, and change colour depending on the season. Here, between August and September, salt workers harvest the salt. The ponds and the channels extend across to the sea; ancient windmills rise among the bright white salt hills.
The Riserva Naturale Orientata Saline di Trapani e Paceco is managed by WWF since 1995; it is over 1,000 hectares wide and also includes Salina Galia.
The preservation of this extraordinary habitat allowed many animals and plants to survive. Thanks to its naturally healthy environment we can still cultivate and harvest our sea salt and grant for its pureness.
The Saltpans are the wonderful result of a bond between human labor and nature, and date back to when Phoenicians lived in this part of Sicily. They were skillful merchants, and found in the low, warm and windy Trapani coastline the ideal place to produce their salt.
The Saltpans are the perfect place to spot water birds, since many species stop here during their migrations.
During spring and autumn flamingoes, herons, egrets, spoonbills, marsh harriers, ducks, avocets, stilts, terns, plovers, slender-billed gulls, kingfishers (among the others) can be seen flying, feeding and resting everywhere.
In spite of the strongly brackish habitat, many plants thrive here: the precious sea marigold, the rare Malta fungus (a parasyte), and also Salicornia, Halocnemum, Arthrocnemum, Halimione.
Last but not least, the small Artemia Salina, a crustacean that is very interesting for biologists and zoologists.
We can finally conclude that the Saltpans world – although artificial- has a key role in keeping and safeguarding biodiversity.