François Orsetti was born in a small village in Quenza, Buracciola. The mountains of Alta Rocca saw him grow. Literally in love with these landscapes, he dedicated his life to the preservation of nature. A life full of adventures that deserve to be told.
His home in Levie, François never stays there long. He, what he likes is being outdoors.
At 75 years old, he is dedicated to raising about fifty pigs, creating fig compote and many other things. Because François, hyperactive, continues to work under the command of Lieutenant Louvetier, responsible for organizing administrative hunts to regulate the wild boar population. He learns to hunt with his family.
“Since I was 11, I knew how to shoot! “, he says, laughing. The maquis, the mountains and their fauna have no secrets for him anymore. He was even a beekeeper!
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After completing his scientific baccalaureate at the Lycée de Sartène, and doing his military service, he left for Paris to work in IT… After just four days, he realized that he was not made to live in this “city where everyone is in a hurry”. He, what he wants is to live in his heights. And suddenly, at the age of 24, the dream of a lifetime was offered to him: a competition to be a mountain guide in the Corsica Regional Natural Park.
His debut in the Park
In 1972, the year the Park was created, he applied and passed the tests brilliantly. A mountain race, a written test and an oral test later, François is one of 12 selected from more than 120 candidates. When François narrates these moments, stars appear in his eyes. “It was the beginning of the adventure of my life, with a group of friends, sharing the same passion: love for nature.” This group trains the pioneers of the famous trail offered by the island. First designed by Michel Fabrikant, the team of guides enabled the creation of the GR20. Everything had to be done. Cleaning, brushing, protecting, creating shelters, these 12 men and the 4 heads of the sector, are on the initiative of a trail known to all, and which has become unavoidable. A success they did not expect. ” We had no idea how big it would be. We were young, passionate, we only know a few pastors, today it’s silly. “They would have preferred this playground to be more respected. This uncontrolled flow of tourists saddens and saddens this protagonist. But François is optimistic by nature and expects action to be taken. And his desire to believe in a better world reflects all the missions he held within the Park.” I was offered to be an animator to raise awareness of environmental protection. I accepted without embarrassment. “
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Bearer of good words, François goes to schools, from primary to secondary, to fairs, to animate, to explain the actions implemented by the park, forest management, risks, etc. Passionate about photography, his film camera, never far from him, allowed him to illustrate his lines. ” I happen to know young people I had in the classroom who are now in their fifties and who thank me for what I taught them. “But being in a room was not his main motivation, so, to his great joy, he resumed the missions and not any other. After the disappearance of deer in the sixties in Corsica, and very long negotiations with Sardinia, the Park started their reintegration Four animals were sent by helicopter from the neighboring island. First in one, two then three pens, the deer were released in some places in Corsica. Then there were more than 3,000 deer on the island. Much to François’ regret because it was not like that that things should evolve. Today, the deer population is not controlled and causes a lot of damage.” If this species was saved and if the program worked, it had to be regulated at some point. We had to make a hunting plan for this species. That is not the case today. “
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a life of adventures
The Regional Park provided training. Leaving for the mainland, the team discovered cross-country skiing in 1974… An idea they carried in their suitcases… “We were cross-country skiing on the Coscione plateau. I was an instructor, we had a lot of fun”, he says with a touch of nostalgia. Always with a view to preservation, he participates in the protection of mouflons. An adventure he will never forget. Like this story: “I will always remember! Just before the meeting for the protection and creation of the mouflon, we still haven’t managed to capture any. That day, there was a lot of snow. During our return, we saw an old mouflon struggling to move in the snow. My young friend from Parque, Jean Antonelli, ran after him and got him. It was amazing. That same night, at the meeting, we were able to say: We already had one!”
Anecdotes abound in the life of this mountaineer. This illustrates the strong character of the adventurer. “One day, I had to climb a cliff I knew by heart. Out of habit, I didn’t hold on. Blocked by a feverish rock, I decided not to continue and turn around. I grabbed it with my foot. I was trapped in my arms for an hour. by my intern who managed to call in reinforcements.” As soon as his friends arrived at the square, the scene seemed mind-boggling. He asks one of the climbers present to bring him a cigarette. He turns it on, seizes the moment, then manages to find the basement again and descends with impressive ease. Once downstairs, he offers a whiskey to the entire gang who came to help him. But not just any, a bottle hidden and kept cool in the mountains! A risk his wife and two daughters took. Leaving you the opportunity to fully exercise your profession, leaving even whole nights to observe the animals. An unfailing confidence that allowed him to live a ” life without regrets. “A life dedicated to the Park, nature, mountains, animals, Corsica.
Seriously ill for a year now, François and his will to win are slowly recovering from the turmoil of life.