The man and the Sierra de Guadarrama
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.