After years of campaigning by locals and environmentalists, the Sierra de las Nieves mountain range, stretching out behind the western Costa del Sol, is now just one step from being declared a National Park. It will be the first area of Malaga province with the status and only the third area in Andalucía.
Last Friday, the national government's Cabinet approved the proposal document after the regional government did the same last month and this will now go to parliament for ratification. National Parks are the only protected natural areas requiring parliamentary approval. Although nothing can be certain, the formal declaration is expected to be made in the spring.
The future National Park will be only the sixteenth in the country and cover 23,000 hectares. The 64,000 locals, living in both the new reserve and an outer protected area, were praised by the government for their contribution to seeking to protect the area.
A unique environment
The government also highlighted the authenticity of the landscape and its uniqueness. The park will cover some 65 per cent of the growing area of the protected indigenous Pinsapo pine and also samples of a rarely visible rock type from the Earth's crust called Peridotite.
President of the Mancomunicad, the inter-municipal group of local town halls that lobbied for the park, Antonio Pérez, said, "It looks like the declaration has reached cruising speed and everything is going to plan."
Most of the Sierra de las Nieves is already a Unesco-protected biosphere. The two current National Parks in Andalucía are Doñana and the Sierra Nevada.