Ten years behind schedule accumulate the Plan for the Management of Natural Resources (PORN) and the Master Plan for Use and Management (PRUG) of the Protected Landscape of the Sierra del Cid and Sierra del Maigmó. Developing and approving these procedures is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment and both should have been carried out as of February 23, 2007, when the Generalitat Valenciana decided to protect the flora, fauna, ethnology and landscape of this unique enclave by decree. However, nothing has been done since then to develop and apply all the legal and regulatory resources contemplated by the Administration to prevent its deterioration and guarantee its protection. And this despite the fact that it is one of the most important natural ecosystems in the province and its nearly 16,000 hectares of forest land also make it the largest in the Valencian Community. In fact, it has the largest natural mass of Aleppo pine in the province and with 22 continuous kilometers of arboreal strip distributed between the municipalities of Petrer, Castalla, Tibi, Agost and Sax, municipalities located in the regions of Alto and Medio Vinalopó, Foia de Castalla and l’Alacantí.
The enclave has about 16,000 hectares of forest land and covers the terms of Petrer, Castalla, Tibi, Agost and Sax
In November 2017, Petrer hosted the constitutive session of the Council for Participation in the Protected Landscape of El Cid and Maigmó and Ana Campo became its first president. The Council was created seven years and ten months after the protection of the enclave was officially declared. It was the first meeting around this place and it brought together at the same table both the representatives of the different administrations – Town Councils, Consellerias, Diputación, Confederación Hidrográfica del Júcar and University of Alicante – as well as trade union and environmental organizations, owners, Hiking Centers , Conservationist Associations and Hunters among other interested groups and with interests. But three years after its formation, the Participation Council is also paralyzed and its president intends to convene it again in January 2021.
Messy public use
“Unfortunately, everything has stopped and the main need we have today is to organize the public use of the landscape. It cannot be that the declaration of a protected area places the media and citizen focus on enclaves of great ecological value and generates a negative impact due to disorderly public use “, warns Ana Campo, stating that” people should enjoy protected natural spaces but always giving priority to their conservation. And that requires, precisely, an organization and management that in this case has not been done, “he laments.
The Public Use Plan referred to by the President of the Council should have been approved in 2020, but first it is necessary to have the PORN and the PRUG.
Ecologists warn that the normal thing would have been that, once the area was declared as a Protected Landscape, the procedure for the preparation and approval of the natural resource management plan began immediately, and then the master plan for use and management. Two documents that in this case accumulate a decade of delay. In 2019, the president of the Participation Council traveled to Valencia to request the Environment to include the drafting of both plans in the budgets. There was then, according to Ana Campo, a verbal commitment from the heads of the Service of Protected Natural Spaces of the Generalitat Valenciana to include such action in the budgets because the “delay is already indecent in the case of a protected area subjected to enormous anthropic pressure” . But there are no financial resources for this purpose “and that leads us to a situation of a decade of inaction,” as the President of the Council denounces.
Environmentalists demand measures to prevent their deterioration
The Protected Landscape of the Cid-Maigmó mountain ranges supports great social pressure due to its numerous recreational areas, shelters, viewpoints, trails, cycle tourism routes, via ferrata and camping and climbing areas. Its proximity to cities such as Alicante, San Vicente, Elda and Ibi makes it a very frequented enclave during weekends and holidays throughout the year by fans of the mountains, trekking, foot races, hunters, the mountain biking and paragliding. Hence the demand of environmentalists to regulate its use and slow its deterioration.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.