The Government forces the dismantling of three alpine ski slopes in the port of Navacerrada due to the environmental impact they cause in an area classified as “of the highest value in the Sierra de Guadarrama.” The affected slopes are the Telegraph, the Showcase and the Forest, which run through areas of special protection and border the National Park itself located between the Community of Madrid and Castilla y León.
These three slopes, located in the lower part of the ski resort, occupy land that belongs to the National Parks Agency thanks to a 25-year concession signed in 1996 that expires on April 3. The Agency has decided that there will be no more concession of use for environmental reasons. The station company must dismantle the facilities and leave the land prepared for regeneration, as established in the 1996 contract. The station has four other tracks in the highest area on the Guarramillas mountain.
The concession extends over 7.6 hectares of the province of Segovia in which three chairlifts have been built with their buildings and complementary facilities and where an artificial snow creation system has been installed that has a deposit, compressors, pipes, pipes and a water intake from the Telegrafo stream. In addition, “there is a treadmill-type ski lift installed without authorization, illegally occupying a small area in the Alto del Telégrafo of Mount Pinar de Valsaín”, according to the report that justifies the decision of the Agency, which has been accessed by the newspaper. is.
The expiration date of the concession is April 3, 2021. Now, National Parks, which depends on the Ministry of Ecological Transition, has decided not to grant “a new concession for private use or to carry out any competitive competition procedure for the purpose requested ”. In other words, alpine skiing is over in that area.
The main reason given for ending the activity is the intensive use of the natural environment that the ski resort has meant. The report on the occupation of the mountain describes that “in the surroundings of the Port of Navacerrada, a space that supports a serious problem of saturation and access, [se producen] agglomerations that sometimes pose a problem of public order and citizen security, contributions of waste without a clear solution for its collection and evacuation to date and ultimately an inappropriate model of public use totally opposite to that which should be established in a natural environment of a national park”.
The space occupied by these tracks is declared a Special Conservation Area and a Special Bird Protection Area. They border the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park. The Junta de Castilla y León has considered that human intrusion based on “sports and leisure facilities, slopes and ski resorts” is one of the pressures and threats on these ecosystems. They have also expressed concern about “the massive influx and unorganized public use,” according to the report.
National Parks reasons that these seven hectares are “imbued by the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park.” After all, they are separated from the park boundary by an administrative decision since the law does not allow such facilities as you are located within a national park. “Actions aimed at the preservation and improvement of the habitats that make up these mountains should prevail,” they say.
Over demand for economic reasons
The point is that the owner of the land has concluded that the station is causing damage to the natural public heritage by saturating the area with people. “It is considered necessary to reduce the demand and reorient the uses of the Port of Navacerrada. Being the ski resort one of the elements that intervene in the current over-demand ”.
Now, the company Puerto de Navacerrada Ski Station will have to return the land “suitable for the recovery of the vegetation in the area” on October 30. That is to say, they have to dismantle the infrastructures that occupy them: “You must proceed to dismantle and remove the ski lifts and their footings, remove buildings and remove their debris, remove cables from water intakes either in canyon sites or in the intake of the stream of the Telegraph”.
The clauses of the occupation that the company obtained in 1996 clarify that when the contract expires, the company has to leave there without the right to receive any economic amount once the period established to develop its business has ended, “the beneficiary having to leave the area affected in the manner determined by the Montes de Valsaín Center, without therefore having the right to make any claim or to receive compensation of any kind ”, explain the terms of the concession from a quarter of a century ago.
The Puerto de Navacerrada and the ski resort are located in the soils of Castilla y León and the Community of Madrid. In fact, the Madrid regional government started in 2010 a plan to adapt the port with the objective, as explained by the then president Esperanza Aguirre (PP), of multiplying the uses throughout the year.
Aguirre, defended that the port was the most important point to promote mountain activities but that “the limited economic performance of some of its facilities and the impact of some works and infrastructures, not always fortunate, have been detrimental ”. 10 million euros were budgeted to plant trees and bury power lines, but also to “provide it with new uses” and increase “accessibility and displacement”. With this project the chairlift-carpet was built. The Madrid Executive assured that the modernization of the port “is being carried out by the concessionaire company” which had been allowed to build new information booths and ticket sales.