The Esparc22 conference is currently taking place in Malaga under the auspices of EUROPARC-Spain, established in 1993 as the main professional forum for the country’s protected areas, and part of a Europe-wide series of national park associations. As part of Esparc22, plans have been unveiled for one of Spain’s most famous national parks, our own Teide National Park in Tenerife.
These plans concern access to the park which, it seems, is going to change radically. According to the park director, private vehicles will not be permitted, visitors being required to use shuttle buses from three interchanges in El Portillo, Vilaflor and Chio with underground car parks. Buses will be part of a fleet of 22, all low-emission and servicing the route continuously for the area’s over 4,000,000 annual sightseers.
Plans, based on a study that has been carried out over the last four years, have largely been positively received. Residents have commented that if visitors to the park had treated the area with more respect in the past, these measures would not have been necessary. But, they say, despite repeated requests to behave appropriately in a protected environment, we’ve all seen examples of utter disregard for the protected national treasure and this is the inevitable result.
Environmentalists particularly have expressed support for the measure, arguing that we have to begin taking the problem of the public’s use of Teide seriously. They say that they fully expect occasional resident visitors to the park to complain about limitations and prohibitions on their “freedoms” but that they have proved incapable of behaving any more respectfully than tourists … and often much worse.
At the moment, the Canarian Government is in the public submissions stage of its Plan Rector de Uso y Gestión del Parque Nacional del Teide (PRUG – Master Plan for the Use and Management of the Teide National Park). This is therefore the time to make any written suggestions, which you can do HERE. Much more information on the whole PRUG is available HERE.