Mallorca Access Problems for Walkers and Climbers

© UKC News

There are various problems developing on the island of Mallorca relating to access to climbing and walking areas. The island has always had its share of problems but usually these are confined to single crags or mountains and the problems have never been bad enough to discourage people from travelling. Recent proposals and escalating difficulties at some crags have made the situation far more serious.

There are four main problems.

1. Local councils charging for access to climbing areas on public land.

Bunyola council has set prices and employed forest guards to charge cars, climbers, bikers and horseback riders in Sa Comuna de Bunyola. This area includes Fraguel, Ca'n Cristo and Ca'n Fil. To take your car costs €6 and to climb is €10 per person. Climbers, both local and visiting, have already been charged or ejected.

2. Evolving legislation for the Tramuntana mountain range.

This is potentially by far the most significant developing problem for all outdoor users of the Tramuntana Mountain range (this is the main range of mountains along the northwest coast of Mallorca, all the way from Andratx to Cap Formentor). The legislation has the unfortunate but memorable acronym PORN (Plan de Ordenación de los Recursos Naturales). The plan was published way back in 2007 and is intended to regulate use and access to the Tramuntana mountains for all users - landowners, councils, businesses and individuals. There is a massive 82 page, 60Mb PDF document with lots of small print covering the legislation here. Although it is now six years on, it appears that it is now being implimented by the authorities more rigourously.

PORN allocates four different zones to each area within the mountains; exclusions zones (no access), zones of limited use, 'compatible use' areas, and general use areas. In theory this is for the protection of flora and fauna, but the criteria for marking these areas is currently very unclear. Because many of these areas are wild terrain, a number of climbing areas are included in these 'exclusion zones'. This includes Creveta and Son Xanquet on Cap Formentor for example.

The walls of Creveta and the Formentor sea cliffs. Photo Mark Glaister.  © Mark Glaister
The walls of Creveta and the Formentor sea cliffs. Photo Mark Glaister.

For those areas not in exclusion zones it appears that a (charged) permit system may be introduced with the idea being to use the information gathered from the permit application process to evaluate how best to charge for access to the Tramuntana mountains in the future.

Luckily climbers are not alone in this struggle. Many groups who enjoy the mountains (cyclists, runners, walkers, etc.) are also up in arms about these proposals and PORN has been very unpopular since its inception..

The area (in pink) of the Traumuntana mountains affected by the proposals  © Unknown
The area (in pink) of the Traumuntana mountains affected by the proposals

3. Private landowners charging for access

Currently the Finca de Massanella (entering from Mancor de la Vall) is charging all walkers, climbers and cyclists - charges here. This is the area of mountains between Alaró and Las Perxes (Caimari) and includes Puig Major.

4. Local councils prohibiting climbing

Currently the Manacor local council has prohibited "jumping from cliffs into the sea". By extension DWS is prohibited. This includes Cala Barques and all the surrounding coast that pertains to Manacor which includes various other DWS spots - Cova del Diablo, Tower of Falcons, Porto Cristo Novo and Cala Barques.

Recent events 2013

October - Bunyola council employs permanent forest guards to charge fees to cars, climbers, bikers etc. Local and visiting climbers are charged €10 or ejected from the area.

November - Local climbers protest in Bunyola on the day of the Bunyola Quarter Marathon running race (see Facebook Group and while you are there, join it!)

November - Local climbers mobilise the Montaña Libre de Impuestos platform (Mountains Free of Taxes). Various articles appear in the local press.

What climbers can do to support?

Join the FB group (it's in Spanish but will be updated in English in the future)

Sign the petition, send the email in the petition, send the tweets in the petition

Don't climb anywhere that imposes restrictions or access fees that are not supported by Montaña Libre de Impuestos. We do not want authorities and landowners to think that these measures will be profitable. If so, we will only end up with more problems in other climbing areas.

Currently avoid:

  • Sa Comuna de Bunyola (Fraguel, Ca'n Cristo and Ca'n Fil)
  • Finca de Massanella (La Reserva climbing area)
  • DWS on the Manacor coast (Cala Barques)

Send and Email - If you have thought of planning a holiday to Mallorca next year and change your mind then send an email (in English) to explaining that you had planned a holiday but you have now changed your mind owing to the proposed restrictions on Access.

Retweet it to these addresses: @TurismeEsportIB (Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Balearic Islands), @ATBIllesBalears (Tourism Agency of the Balearic Islands) and @carlosjdtruyols (Government Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Balearic Islands).

If you have any business connections with Mallorca, then please consider writing a letter explaining how this policy will drastically effect tourism on the island of Mallorca.

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17 Dec, 2013
Totally disgusting. What a world we live in.
17 Dec, 2013
Not so much disgusting as stupid, I should have thought. Obviously they'll want to make money from tourism, but I'd imagine this will have the reverse effect. Still, the local authorities in Mallorca ought to have a better idea than I do of how to monetise visitors. jcm
17 Dec, 2013
It may be worth people e mailing any villa owners/rental companies they have used on Mallorca to point out the possible damage to their business interest
Yes, I agree. The local climbers are requesting that people don't go to Mallorca but I expect this news item will already have lost Mallorca a lot of climbers planning on travelling over the winter and spring, no matter what the eventual outcome. That is the point I don't think the local councils get - Mallorca competes for its tourists with many other areas and most climbers and walkers will switch their plans without any hesitation since the alternatives are plentiful and permit free. Alan
17 Dec, 2013
I now know where I wont be visiting in February :( A great shame as it is such an amazing island. With the cost of living pretty high, charging for access probably pushes the holiday cost too far for the average punter.
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