THE Peñon de Ifach, a protected national park, has problems that were recently underlined by a climbing accident.
A man of 56 was seriously injured after a fall of 15 metres in a zone that is currently barred to the public. Sources confirmed the accident occurred at the far end of the tunnel on the closed pathway to the top of the 332-metre Peñon.
The hiker was airlifted by helicopter to the ground and transferred to Denia hospital with significant head injuries, the same sources revealed.
The Peñon is the most-visited national park in the Valencian Community but the previous regional government closed the path up to the top a year ago for safety reasons.
Hikers and walkers may now go no further than the tunnel, where the surface has become slippery with use. Its exit is walled and locked and remaining sections of the path have been pronounced very dangerous.
The accident came shortly after an interview in the Spanish media with Guilllem Sendra, the newly-appointed president of the park’s board of governors. Sendra, who is a lawyer and environmentalist, emphasised that he intends to be demanding in his new role. “The former regional government’s Environment Department invested nothing. The deteriorated path to the top shows that. But other things are lacking,” Sendra said.
The regional government has announced €40,000 on making the path safer and insists it will reopen before the summer. But more is needed, claimed Sendra who stressed the improvements should be conservative. “It should not be asphalted but gravelled,” he said.
He also lamented that the former regional government’s plans to include the Salinas salt beds came to nothing. “The wetland has minimum protection. It is private and the Coastal Authority’s exclusion zone is its only safeguard,” Sendra said.