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La Gomera prepares ancient paths for public use PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 10 May 2009 17:00

La Gomera will recover the old insular 'horseshoe' footpaths to create a network of trails, which will permit to travel across all boroughs of the island on foot. This is assured by the president of the Island Council, Casimiro Curbelo, who explains that the plenary session of the Council has approved the signing of an agreement with the Ministry of Environment, through which 5 million euros will be invested in the upgrading of these routes, which in the past served to connect the insular populations.

Curbelo stresses that "the investment will begin to be realized in this exercise, and will help revitalize the harmony of the island thanks to the promotion of sustainable tourism which is not aggressive with the environment, since along with the basic action of walking on La Gomera in contact with the nature the visitor can find refuge and resting places which complete the traditional tourist offer.” He explains that the budget of 5 million euros invested by the State Government and the Island Council also includes money to be used to build a network of viewpoints and hostels, which can give shelter to hikers with enough assurance of quality and service.

Curbelo advances that works on the trails are divided into two groups, on the one hand on a circular trail which sets out from San Sebastián de La Gomera to Hermigua, passing through the zone of Enchereda, Juel and Palmar, to be followed by Agulo, Vallehermoso, Valle Gran Rey and Alajeró, and on the other hand on five interior trails that connect with the circular trail and set out at the highest point of the island, namely the Alto de Garajonay.

Proposed actions include opening and refurbishment of a 1,5 meters wide path along the traces of the mentioned trails, cleaning and clearing of these routes, construction of structural elements - berms, steps or ramps - with elements of the natural environment, and improvements in the signaling system of the pathways, according to the standard typology of the Natural Trails Program by the Ministry of Environment.

Curbelo notes that "ultimately we can say that this is a very positive initiative for the island, directly connected with the Council's planning and wager for sustainable tourism and care of the natural environment, giving continuity to earlier actions undertaken by the insular corporation on these ancient 'horseshoe' footpaths, used by settlers of the island not so many years ago, when there were not so many communication facilities as there are today, and when to go to San Sebastián from Vallehermoso meant one had to stay overnight on the way."

"La Gomera only can and has to advocate tourist development directly related to the nature and the Garajonay National Park, which is one of the most outstanding natural jewels of the planet and is found here on our island, a territory that has known how to combine social development with environmental conservation", he concludes after stating that the agreement between the Island Council and the Ministry of Environment will have a duration of 4 years, although at the parties' request its validity may be extended for another year.