A PETITION has been launched to get a Costa del Sol mountain range recognised as a national park.
Over 13,500 people have already signed the campaign on Change.org to grant Estepona’s Sierra Bermeja the status jointly with neighbouring Sierra de las Nieves in Ronda.
It comes after the Junta lodged a proposition to only turn Sierra de las Nieves into a national park, despite the wishes of a group of academics and eco-campaigners who created the Sierra Bermeja Parque Nacional platform.
The group insists Sierra Bermeja’s diverse ecosystem is more in need of the protection and conservation measures offered by the status as it is the only place in the world where pinsapo (fir) trees grow on red peridotita rocks.
But it decided to back a joint instead of singular mountain range bid as they believe is more likely to lead to success for Sierra Bermeja.
“We are heartened by the amount of signatures we already have as it highlights the importance of this mountain to the people,” said Maribel Marin, a Sierra Bermeja Parque Nacional campaigner.
“But we want to encourage everyone to sign it to really show to the officials the amount of support for our campaign.
“At the moment Sierra Bermeja only has parque natural status, which we do not believe affords it adequate protection against risks such as fires.
“It would be tragic if we lost a unique habitat forever due to a lack of this.”
The platform plans to send the petition to both the Junta and Spain’s National Park Organisation, which decides which areas can receive the special status.