Javea's protected spaces

Porn in the Park

Javea's protected spaces

Text of an article written for the Jávea Grapevine by Chris Betterton-Jones - December 2011

A full 50% of Jávea's land area is protected one way or another. The best known is the Montgó Natural Park. (No, not "National", or even "Naturist", although it is managed by sets of regulations known as PORN). Actually, about one half of the park lies within Jávea's boundaries, including the summit and the "eye". The rest of it is in Dénia where the visitor's centre is located. Montgó was declared a natural park as recently as 1987, but the Management Plans for Natural Resources (Planes de Ordenación de Recursos Naturales - PORN) were not approved by the Valencia Government until 2002.

Natural Parks allow activities geared towards traditional agriculture, livestock rearing and forestry. However, traditional uses often conflict with the other roles. For example, hunting and shooting are traditional activities, but make no sense if you want to conserve the natural flora and fauna of the mountain (which happens to be very important to biologists). Ironically the park includes two shooting ranges, quite close to each other on opposite sides of the La Plana road as you go over the top toward Denia. The San Jeronimo (Jávea) range is on the right, and the Dénia range is on the left. This is a double dose of noise for the local fauna. Add to that there is a popular night club nearby.

With all these conflicting interests, there have to be regulations governing how the park is used. These regulations are enshrined in the PRUG (Plan Rector de Uso y Gestión). So the park is divided into various zones. The top is a conservation area, (hiking groups of more than 10 people are supposed to notify the Park director) while most of La Plana allows moderate use (picnics, hunting, mountain biking) and the houses, shooting ranges and night club which pre-date the park are designated as "areas of special use." Five years ago the shooting ranges were denounced as being incompatible with the park and rumours flew about that they would soon be closed down or moved. They are both still there! However, the wild animals will be pleased to know that there won't be any new noisy developments in the area because the PRUG also regulates use of land surrounding the park, and prohibits incompatible activities such as new discos, mining and industrial activities.

The cliffs and the sea adjacent to the Montgó Natural park are similarly protected as the Marine Reserve of Cabo del San Antonio which stretches from Dénia to Jávea . Like the Montgó, this reserve is divided into different zones, the most protected area being close to the cliff. Here, bottom anchoring, motorboats, fishing, collecting sea life and dumping garbage are prohibited. Policing this reserve is something of a nightmare since you can draw boundary lines more easily on a map than on the water and many people do not know the reserve exists, let alone aware of the restrictions on its use.

The rest of Jávea's coastal cliffs, known as the Penyassegats de la Marina, have a different sort of protection, being designated as a LIC (Lugar de Interes Comunitario) which means Site of Community Importance, the community in question being the European Union. As such they form part of the EU's "Natura 2000" network of protected areas and their use conforms to the EU's habitat directive. This emphasises conservation to ensure biological diversity as well as allowing sustainable use. The Granadella Forestry Park (the wild area behind Granadella cove, which stretches along the coast to Benitatxell) also forms part of this LIC. For a "Forestry Park," it doesn't have much in the way of trees. This is because the area was ravaged by fire in 2000 and it is only gradually being reforested. Some people would prefer a higher level of protection for Granadella. There have been calls to have it declared a full blown Municipal Natural Park.

Inside these large protected areas there are six special micro-reserves. These are zones, less than 20 hectares in size, protected by Valencian law to favour rare, endangered or endemic botanical species. It is important to point out that Jávea municipality is notable for the variety and rarity of its wild flowers. We have 48 species of endangered wild plant here, representing 13% of the endangered plant species in the Comunidad Valenciana. Not bad for an area which comprises only 0.5% of the Valencia region.

The other large, wild area is Tossal Gros (Big Hill). This is the partly forested hill which straddles Jávea and Gata municipalities. The upper slopes used to be Jávea's rubbish land fill (hence the road up to the top) but it is now classified as protected land and is a major hunting area.

There are many smaller protected zones, including river banks, barrancos (stream gulleys) and "ecological corridors" which connect the wild spaces, as well as public natural parks such as the top of Rafalet, and urban parks and gardens. In addition, some places are protected because they are liable to flooding or landslides. Add all these to the agricultural land in the valley, and the map of Jávea becomes decidedly green. During the peak of the housing boom there were very real fears that Jávea would turn into yet another concrete jungle. But the property crash, together with new, enlightened land use laws and changing attitudes have worked to ensure that this will not now happen. Jávea's beautiful landscape and green spaces are seen as one of the town's great tourist assets and will be protected, not just by law, but also by the will of the people.


PRUG - the law governing use of the park (PRUG)

in Spanish

Guidelines in implementing the law.

in Spanish

The management plan for the Montgó recognises encroachment and title conflicts that alter the limits of the park.

See Management plan for the Montgó
Jan 2006

Regulations governing the Montgó prohibit new discotheques and hotels and demand the closure of the rubbish tips.

See Regulations governing the Montgó
Jan 2006
In more detail in XAD: El Montgó ya tiene

Greenpeace Report 2009

Nature Reserve, Marine Reserve and Site of Community Importance
See Greenpeace Report 2009

Xàbia Democrática Answer to pre election qustionnaire 2011

Question 4. Municipal environmental management: Can it be improved ? In which ways? What new bye-laws do you think should be approved during the next term?
Within La Plana there are two shooting ranges that for many are incompatible with the Natural Park. Alternatives need to be found by means of public consensus. Clear signposts are needed to indicate to tourists and visitors those footpaths that lead to points of interest, for example up to the windmills from ‘Ausias March’ as well as to the Cabo Prim from the Arenal
For full questionnaire see: http://agenda21-xabia.wikidot.com/questionnaire-for-political-parties-2011

Public use of the Montgó natural park under debate

July 4th 2010
The Montgó natural Park receives around 365,000 visitors each year and the authorities are in the process of developing a plan for the public use of the Park so that the necessity for conservation of natural areas can be reconciled with recreational use by the public. For this reason, the park management is soliciting inputs from users, authorities and the general public . The forum of the Agenda21 met with a representative from the park to be briefed on the questionnaires, and to provide inputs. The meeting identified the following weaknesses: The presence of a nightclub on la Plana which resulted in large numbers of vehicles, noise and garbage in the summer, constituting a fire hazard. The presence of hunters and two shooting ranges within the Park environs (though these are regulated by other bodies); the absence of an information point on the Cabo de San Antonio (which receives 80% of the visits) and at the Windmills of La Plana; the fact that the toilets at the picnic area were always closed. From XAD:La debate sobre... La A21 debate sobre….

Call to bury power lines on the Montgó

Request for Montgó Governing board to be reconvened

April 30th 2012
The ruling coalition tabled a motion calling for the Valencia Department of Environment to comply with the Natural Resource Management Plan in the Montgo Nature Reserve, which now celebrates its 25th anniversary, with regard to burying power lines, specifically in the plana de San Antonio and the shooting range, as this is a migratory path for birds and many protected species nest here. Two fire engines were also requested for the Nature Reserve to provide a quick response to forest fires, as well as a permanent fire brigade during times of high alert. Thirdly, the asked for the Governing Board of Montgo to be renewed and convened, and that the chairman should be a municipal councillor designated from Javea and Denia, alternating every two years. Finally, a request was made to the Government of Valencia to register all the public mountain land still awaiting inscription in the public record. This motion was adopted by the April Council meeting with the endorsement of all the parties except the PP, who abstained. (From Press Release)

Hunter or hunted ?

See: http://www.xabiaaldia.es/econews/cazador_o_cazado-352.html
for an analysis of the Shooting gallery issue (in Spanish)

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