The man and the Sierra de Guadarrama

Posted in History

At the Roman Empire epoch, Segovia and Toledo were connected by a roadway crossing La Fuenfría Pass. In this area its tracing coincides with “the old road to Segovia”, climbing the pass at the Madrid side skirting along the slope. The pavement crossing the Enmedio Bridge (Puente de Enmedio) was built in the 18th century and corresponds to a cattle track named “Cañada de La Fuenfría”. Within the National Park several cattle tracks are catalogued. The royal drover’s roads (Cañadas Reales) were used by the transhumant herds to move according to the season, looking for mountain fresh meadows, or pastures at the tempered valleys.

It reached its peak in the reign of the Catholic Monarchs (Los Reyes Católicos), when millions of Merino sheep, with excellent wool to trade, transited under the protection of The Honored La Mesta Council (1273-1836) (El Honrado Concejo de la Mesta). Nowadays the cow cattle predominate for its meat production. The majority of the sucker cows are thorough-bred Avileña Negra-Ibérica and in certain cases cross-bred with Charolais and Limousine, handling a higher meat production capacity.

The Sierra de Guadarrama pinewoods forest logging has been one of the most important traditional uses. However, the majority of the National Park forest extensions have had assigned for many years the role of biodiversity and landscape preservation, land protection, hydrologic control and recreation, continuing with the forest logging at the Peripheral Protection Zone. The Valsaín Pinewood (Pinar de Valsaín) should be mentioned as an emblematic example of sustainable use and nature preservation. Since The National Park Pronouncement, it holds a special protection regulation, in practice equivalent to the National Park one, for its area belonging to the Peripheral Protection Zone.

The National Park History

Posted in History

In the last decades of the 19th century, a small and selected scientists and intellectuals group, induced by a research and exploration spirit, developed the first cartographic, geologic, botanic and fauna studies related to the Sierra de Guadarrama. That trend of scientific interest came together in 1876 with the emergence of a pedagogic renewal movement, impelling the Sierra knowledge and love: The Free Education Institution (La Institución Libre de Enseñanza).

At the early 20th century, the first sports and mountaineers societies emerged, such as The Royal Spanish Peñalara Alpinism Society, the first institution to ask for the Sierra to be declared a National Park, in the 20’s decade. But not until the 1930 decade started the Sierra protection with, for example, the implementation of the Environmental Status of Natural Site of National Interest to the Height, Peñalara Cirque and Lakes, La Pedriza de Manzanares and the Acebeda Pinewood. (Sitio Natural de Interés Nacional, Cumbre, Circo y Lagunas de Peñalara, La Pedriza de Manzanares y el Pinar de la Acebeda).

Later on some of those protected areas were reclassified, and other Environmental Status came, national and from the European Union, exceeding the National Park limits. Finally, on June 25th 2013, The National Parliament (Congreso de los Diputados) approved the Bill declaring the Sierra de Guadarrama a National Park.

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