Closing the Crater – plans to limit the number of cars into Teide National Park

Posted: February 12, 2009 in Life, Nature, Spain, Tenerife, Transport, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Going slow in the snow

Going slow in the snow

Although Sunday in Las Cañadas del Teide was an unforgettable experience, the stretch between El Portillo and the cable car did involve crawling along in a barely moving queue of traffic. Although the snow’s transformation of the normally ‘other worldly’ landscape did provide a distraction to being gridlocked, it was still a tad tiresome. I suspect Tenerife Cabildo president, Ricardo Melchior might have been sitting in the same queue.

Wednesday saw a news report that the island’s president wanted access to the park limited to 3,000 cars. The reasons for this seem sound. He was concerned about the potential danger that the influx of vehicles to the park when it snows could cause. He had a point, if an ambulance, or emergency vehicle had to get through Teide National Park on Sunday, the person, or persons it was on its way to help would have been, to put it mildly, buggered.

The worry I have about this proposal to limit entry to the park is HOW. Let’s face it, when it comes to the planning and organisation section of Tenerife’s annual report card , the entry never changes; it’s perpetually marked in bold red letters ‘could do much better’.

I have this vision of barriers being put up across the four roads leading to the crater and when it snows, the usual tens of thousands of cars head uphill to be blocked off at the pass. Inside the park the roads are quiet and a few thousand families frolic in the snow in relative exclusivity.

At the barriers however, there’s chaos. Queues stretch back for miles on both sides of the road; cars attempting three point turns cause complete havoc; an ambulance trying to take some poor kid who’s just broken their leg snowboarding can’t escape the park; at the barrier itself two rangers are staring in bemusement at the mess and one turns to the other and says:

“Ah…we didn’t think about what would happen on the roads outside the park?”
“Somebody better tell the president,” the other replies.
“Well I’m not doing it, you can,” the first grumbles. “And I don’t think he’ll be happy if you phone him on a Sunday.”
“Don’t worry, I don’t have to phone him,” the first ranger smiles and points to a family laughing and playing in the snow. “He’s over there building a snowman.”

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