The institutional agreement reflects that “the activity of the users of the SUVs – commonly known as 4x4s – in Tenerife is of a long tradition”. In this sense It is recognized that «the Island has a high number of members and users in clubs of this sport, that, contrary to what one might think, they are very active people who have a great participation in social and solidarity events ».
In addition, this argument, confirmed in an institutional way, insists that these groups “do a job of raising awareness among their associates for the promotion of environmental values and the care of natural spaces, being in many cases collaborators of the Public Administration to the time to report uncontrolled spills and other incidents in those environments.
Tenerife has 2,200 kilometers of forest tracks, of which only 180 are available, in some cases due to lack of maintenance and in others because they are simply closed –with some concrete examples of prohibition– «for reasons that, at least publicly, they are unknown ”, insists the Cabildo in its final agreement.
The truth is that «What these prohibitions generate is a lot of furtivism, and that in turn causes security problems, both for natural spaces and in relation to users. In this sense, the agreement values that “new technologies can generate control mechanisms that would allow access to the slopes to be monitored and to carry out a specific follow-up of the activity.” “The implementation of these applications, redounds the document, would help control against possible offenders, in such a way that it would be possible to generate an activity that would enable the maintenance of the tracks and would also serve for a public use that is currently on the rise ». This propositional declaration is the basis for the agreement developed in three points. In the first place, it is proposed “to create a work table with the clubs and users of the 4×4 on the Island.” From there it would be feasible “to stimulate their participation in the environmental volunteering of the Cabildo to study the rational use of forest tracks and analyze the safety conditions and capacity of the same.” The intention is “to reevaluate the tracks that can be used by this type of vehicle. The second proposal is “to install new gauges that reinforce the reserve system and help reduce the phenomenon of poaching.” The third and final term is to “promote information and awareness campaigns that promote responsible circulation with motor vehicles on forest tracks and protected natural areas.” The initiative has been presented by CC-PNC, through the counselor Blanca Pérez. She makes the proposal that ends in this agreement “to facilitate the transit of ATVs on the forest tracks of Tenerife.” From Canary Coalition They highlight the initiative that contemplates the creation of a work table with the clubs and 4×4 users and an application that will allow to control the capacity. Blanca Pérez is grateful for the support of all the political groups to resolve an initiative “that promotes consensus with the clubs and users of ATVs to expand the use of the tracks and capacity. It is about looking for the best agreement for all from a calm analysis and that takes into account the different points of view ». Pérez explains that his proposal contemplates “the creation of a system that allows control over the vehicles that travel along the forest tracks to guarantee proper use and access to them.” He considers that “there are sufficient technological tools to control the use of the slopes and monitor their use by clubs and users of SUVs.” The Minister of the Environment, Isabel García, for her part, refers to the plenary agreement and to what she already argued in the session of last September 30 in favor of the agreement to be developed.
“The key is in balance and planning because there are clues and clues”
“Balance is key.”
This word, balance, was the most used by Enrique Arriaga, spokesman for Ciudadanos, a party that is part of the island government, to assess this agreement. In his capacity as spokesman for the orange formation, the vice president of the institution and the insular counselor for Highways points out that “there are tracks and tracks. Our Island has a huge natural heritage and we must find a balance between this and the right to enjoyment of the people. Arriaga also clarifies that “Another fundamental aspect is security because there are spaces where you can walk without problems and others where you can’t.” In this regard, the insular counselor for Mobility also recalls that “in our case we force the Corporation’s drivers to undergo a series of tests to be able to drive safely in these natural environments.” Arriaga insists that “some places can be accessed and not others. What we want is that it can be determined in a regulated way. Maybe in some there may be 50 vehicles but never 300 ». That is why he considers it “essential to establish the capacity in each natural space.” Finally, Arriaga affects the “consensus” that has been reached “with 4×4 and off-road sports clubs.” He believes that it is “key” to go hand in hand with them,
“You have to regulate.”
From the Popular Party, through the counselor Valentín González, they understand that “the Cabildo must improve and regulate the use of the network of tracks – almost 200 authorized kilometers – for the circulation of motor vehicles for recreational and sports purposes.” To achieve this objective “from public administrations (Cabildo, Seprona, …) and users it is necessary to work from consensus to make responsible use of forest trails”. In this case, it is necessary to take into account, from the point of view of the popular, “an aspect that we understand cannot be renounced as that of the safety of people, the sustainability and the conservation of protected natural areas.” For the PP it is essential “to know who and how many people are in the forest.” They consider that This “is very valuable information to achieve the objective of having safe forest trails”. The popular ones understand that “for this it is essential to define the load capacity of the protected areas and to monitor the activity of the 4x4s.” In this sense, the Cabildo de Tenerife, they point out, “should be receptive to the proposals that the ATV associations themselves propose for the creation of an application (APP) or other technological solution that allows us to monitor an area (access control) and define different parameters in real time ». Among these would be the vehicle registration; the number of occupants; from where it is accessed; the route to take; the speed at which they move or the guarantees of both the warning of possible emergencies (accident, etc.) and when labeling incidents such as in the case of the appearance of waste (improvised dumps, track conditions …). The Popular Party understands that «the Cabildo should not miss the opportunity for dialogue offered by the off-road or 4×4 associations, which represent more than 3,000 users and the option of working together to define the load capacity, improve the status and use of conservation, safety and other characteristics of the forest trails of Tenerife ».
Valentín González points out in this regard: «Given the variety of sports and leisure activities in the natural environment, as well as the nature of shared use of the forest tracks – hiking, running, cycling, 4×4 … – it is essential that the Cabildo substantially improve the management in the conservation and surveillance of the protected natural spaces and in particular of the forest tracks of the Island ”. From the position of the popular in Tenerife “it is not enough to prohibit and punish offending behaviors”, if any, but it is necessary to make a greater effort in areas such as “awareness” and “information” campaigns aimed at all users who use and enjoy the natural environment. The PP has supported the institutional agreement because it considers that it is “very important” to lay the foundations for the future for a design that allows combining the protection of the natural space with the leisure activities in nature that are increasing every day and that have been projected exponentially with the pandemic.
The optics of Sí Podemos.
Ruth Acosta, counselor of Sí Podemos Canarias, values this institutional agreement as “positive, since it allows a new possibility of participation by users and SUV clubs”. It advocates “initiatives to improve activity, training and, above all, for the safety of drivers, as well as other users of forest trails.” Acosta highlights the need to ensure “that there is a rigorous control over the responsible use of 4×4 vehicles on the forest tracks on which the Cabildo allows their transit, so that they do not deteriorate excessively the natural environment and that safety can be maintained in all the senses”.
Consolidated and on the rise.
One piece of information is enough to explain the importance related to popular monitoring of the activity that the Cabildo is now trying to control. Only the Mundo 4×4 Tenerife group, with activity on social networks, currently has 3,156 members. A huge amount that is increasing and has to do with a hobby, sometimes turned into a sports discipline, with more and more followers. Hence, the need to regulate it.