A CAMPAIGNER behind the bid to have a Costa del Sol mountain crowned a national park is “hopeful” of success.
Maribel Marin revealed that the Junta de Andalucia is currently considering a new proposal to give Estepona’s impressive Sierra Bermeja the status in conjunction with Ronda’s Sierra de las Nieves.
Maribel, who is a member of the local Ecologistas en Acción group, said a decision could be made before the year is out.
The joint bid, which received unaminous backing from the Mancomunidad de Muncipios Costa del Sol in October, was created after the Junta refused to consider bestowing the status to Sierra Bermeja on its own.
She said a separate bid to designate Sierra de las Nieves was being looked on by the authority more favourably.
This is despite the Estepona mountain being more diverse and being the only place in the world where pinsapo (fir) trees are found growing on the red peridotita rocks.
“We hope they will make a decision by the end of this year on our joint mountain proposal”, she said.
“I hope it will be sucessful as we can’t see why anyone would be against it when it will benefit both mountain zones.
“We have been campaigning for this designation for Sierra Bermeja since 2007.
“The mountain is home to more than 220 species and to have this along with the presence of the pinsapo trees and the peridotitas makes it unique.
“Not many people know this but researchers from as far away as Japan come here to study the mountain because of its how important it is.”
The group’s original national park proposal solely for the mountain was rebuffed by the Andalucian Junta in 2014.
Maribel said: “They said the mountain was well-enough protected already and that they wouldn’t act due to the nearby presence of the A7 road which runs from San Pedro to Ronda.
“While the top is protected, the rest is not.
“National park status would bring extra funding to better conserve and protect the area.
“Currently, if there were to be a fire it would be devastating because as the landscape is so steep the trees would catch fire very quickly and it would all be destroyed.”