Take the cars out of the Teide and reduce traffic in the National Park with three bus stations that offer guided tours. It is the objective of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Climate Change with the new Master Plan for the Use and Management of Teide (PRUG), whose draft advances towards approval at the end of the year or early 2022. It seeks to improve the conservation of the protected area more visited from Spain, with more than 4.4 million people in the years before the pandemic.
Miguel Ángel Pérez, vice-counselor of the area of Canary Government headed by José Antonio Valbuena, anticipates that the intention of this new plan – which is prepared in coordination with the Cabildo de Tenerife, which has the main management powers of the National Park – is to “remove the private vehicle from the most attractive areas.” For it three visitor centers are proposed: one in El Portillo –with an added interpretation center– and another two in the limits of the Park with the municipalities of Guía de Isora and Vilaflor. There will be the bases of the shuttle buses that will take visitors to the interior of the Park. “The buses that will bring visitors to the areas of tourist attraction of Las Cañadas will depart from these information centers,” says Pérez.
This week a new step has been taken with the announcement of the start of the environmental evaluation procedurel. Miguel Ángel Pérez explains that it is a public information process for possible allegations from administrations and individuals for 20 business days from September 1.
Pérez considers that “there are guarantees of environmental protection inherent to a natural space like this, but we wanted to produce the document with an impact report.” Remember that “the previous Canarian Government decided not to be the case,” but we intend to develop the evaluation, even in a simplified way. The deputy counselor points out that “it is intended to improve the uses and see the compatibility”. “Conditioned access areas, limited parking or visitor centers.” Pérez anticipates that it will be the first plan adapted to the regulations in force regarding European legislation and climate change laws. “Then we will proceed to act in the other national parks of the Canary Islands.”
The highway is not going to be closed because it is a transit ridge, vital for traffic to both sides of the island. But It is intended to end the image of the crowds of cars on the side of the tracks. The bus services will be in permanent circulation with reduced waiting times. It will be possible to circulate with a private vehicle, but only buses will allow you to visit the National Park after leaving the car in the authorized car parks.
Manuel Durbán, director of the Park, points out about the new Use and Management Plan, in which his team collaborates, that “there is a lack of allegations for environmental impact and public information for citizens to present proposals.” “There are always conflicting interests to resolve in the document but I see the draft as positive.” Last March, the Canary Islands National Parks Commission approved the initial phase of the Teide Master Plan. It is a fundamental step for the renewal of the planning and its updating to adapt to the new circumstances. A new guide for an emblematic area of the Canary Islands and with a rich, varied and unique biodiversity and geology in the world.
The most visited park in Spain
The Teide National Park is the most visited of the entire national network, made up of fifteen. In 2019, the last year before the pandemic, it received just over 4,400,000 tourists. Its 18,990 hectares of a huge plain in the center of the island give way to the main attraction: the volcano, which at 3,718 meters is crowned as the highest peak in Spain. It is possible to approach it through a set of trails or by going up in the Cable Car to La Rambleta at 3,555 meters of altitude. Ascent to the summit of Teide requires a special permit that must be processed through the website of the network of parks. One aspect to improve is the services, the surveillance, with a recognized shortage of personnel, is pending to be structured after the end of the contract with Tragsa in 2020 to support the Seprona agents of the Civil Guard. The Information Office has recently been awarded to the public company Gesplan. It should be remembered that Tenerife has 48.6% of its surface protected.