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Picos de Europa National Park

Picos de Europa National Park
Parque Nacional de Picos de Europa(Spanish)
IUCN category II (national park)
The Picos de Europa (view from Liébana).
Location Picos de Europa, Cantabrian Mountains, Spain
Nearest city

Asturias: Oviedo, Gijón

Cantabria: Santander
Coordinates
Area 646.60 km²
Established 1918
Governing body Ministry of Environment of Spain

The Picos de Europa National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional de Picos de Europa) is a National Park in the Picos de Europa mountain range, in northern Spain. It is shared by the autonomous communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Flora and fauna 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

History

It was the first of the National Parks of Spain along with Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park in the Pyrenees. When it was created 22 July 1918 it covered the western part of today's national park, centered on the Lakes of Covadonga. The Parque Nacional de la Montaña de Covadonga, as it then was called, had an area of 169.25 km². On May 30, 1995 the park was extended to include its current total area of 646.60 km².

On July 9, 2003 UNESCO approved Biosphere Reserve status for the National Park. Picos de Europa is one of several biosphere reserves in the Cantabrian Mountains which are being integrated into a single super-reserve to be known as "Gran Cantábrica". [1]

Geography

Lago Ercina, one of the Lakes of Covadonga.

The total area of the park is 646.60 km² and is shared by Castilla y León, Asturias, and Cantabria. The highest point of the park is in Torre de Cerredo peak, 2,648 m AMSL and the lowest point is 75 m AMSL in the Deva River, that is, a vertical drop of 2,573 m.

The geological features of the park show the effects of glacial erosion on the limestone massifs that form the Cantabrian Mountains.

Flora and fauna

Several types of woods can be found in the area: trees include beeches and Cantabrian Holm Oaks.

The human population is about 1300. There are many protected animal species, like the Capercaillie, the Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), the Cantabrian brown bear and the Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signatus). The most representative animal of the Picos de Europa is the Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) or sarrio, or its more specific relative, the Cantabrian chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica parva) or rebeco, of which there are many sculptures around the park, as well as the Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica).

See also

References

  1. ^ Biosphere Reserve Information, accessed 2010, when the super-reserve was described as being built up "step by step".

External links

  • Official web of the Spanish Ministry of Environment
  • Information and tourism office
  • iberianature.com - English-language web site on nature in Spain and Portugal
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