Today a ceremony at the Garajonay national park visitor's centre in Juego de Bolas at 10 am will mark 100 years since a legal foundation for Spain's national parks was laid, the first one in the world. As marcaespania puts it:
''According to history, or to those who write it down, it all began in Yellowstone, back in 1872. The US Government intended to protect this natural area by designating it as a National Park – the first of its kind. The practice was soon adopted in Canada, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia… It took longer for it to come to Spain, but it made its entry in style.
As various countries designated their own National Parks, Spain granted them legal protection by passing the first National Parks Act in the world at the request of Pedro José Pidal y Bernaldo de Quirós, Marquis of Villaviciosa de Asturias. Adopted by the Cortes Generales (the Spanish Congress), the law was sanctioned by King Alfonso XIII, coming into force on 8 December 1916.''
The Canary Islands are the region with the most national parks with four of a total of fifteen and Teide national park on Tenerife is the most visited, accounting for over 30% of all visitors to the 15 parks.
La Gomera's 'Garajonay' national park is unique with its almost two million years old evergreen forest. The island's government is soon to take over ownership from the Spanish state and the long legal process for this change is well underway.
|Location of the four national parks in the Canary Islands. Note: Garajonay is spelled wrong on map|