THE Council of Ministers in Madrid has granted approval in the first reading to declare the Sierra de las Nieves, Malaga, a national park.
The decision was made yesterday (Tuesday), though definitive approval is still some way off, as the bill first has to pass through the Council of Ministers again before it is finally sent to the General Court (Cortes Generales) for ratification.
If all goes to plan, the Sierra de las Nieves will become Spain’s sixteenth natural park and the third in Andalucia, joining Doñana national park and the Sierra Nevada.
The proposal is a joint project that was developed by the Junta de Andalucia and the Autonomous National Parks Organisation (OAPN) between 2015-2018.
Altogether, it seeks to protect 23,000 hectares of countryside across 14 municipalities and would entail the prohibition of hunting, fishing, commercial logging and mining.
Currently designated as a natural park, the Sierra de las Nieves is home to numerous species of rare flora – among them the pinsapo de Las Escalateras, a fir tree that has been declared a national monument.
Genets (musk cats), martens, roe deer and golden eagles also inhabit its slopes, making it one of Spain’s most important wildlife refuges.