In the municipalities of Enguídanos and Víllora, in the province of Cuenca, the Chorreras del Río Cabriel are located, declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2019. It is an area of waterfalls, waterfalls and turquoise water pools where you can go hiking, water sports and nature tourism. Its capacity, in principle, is that which is delimited by the two car parks located at the entrances from both towns. This was agreed two years ago between the Castilian-Manchego Government and both municipalities. But there are many people who walk, park in other places or take buses. And the place has finally become crowded. The consequence: there have been eight accidents, mainly injuries of various kinds, in the last two weeks. Throughout the summer, there have been 11 such events.
The Chorreras del Río Cabriel are already a Natural Monument
These facts have set off the alarms, although the administrations consider that it is not a matter of lack of security but of “recklessness”. This natural monument has signs about its danger in certain areas and also about possible “sudden” increases in flow due to the fact that a hydroelectric power plant operates there.
This is how it appears in the indications on the Las Chorreras website, where it is also recalled that it is mandatory to make a parking reservation and that it is prohibited to park in the section from these car parks to the natural area. It is also forbidden to step on the waterfalls as well as the areas where the water is flowing and bathing can only be done in the marked pools. Similarly, umbrellas, chairs, tables, cars and anything that could damage the rock are not authorized.
Many of these regulations are not met and this situation has added a greater number of visitors and “greater imprudence”. With all this, the delegate for Sustainable Development in Cuenca, Rodrigo Molina, has advanced to elDiarioclm.es that surveillance will be reinforced, which is now carried out by the ‘ecoagents’ who monitor the two car parks, environmental agents and the Civil Guard.
Reduce visitors and not just vehicles
“We are in a permanent analysis, this natural monument was preserved three years ago precisely to protect it from the great influx of people that there was then. It has been increasing despite the fact that the number of vehicles was reduced through the two car parks. Now the administrations are seeing that we must reduce the number of visitors, not just vehicles”, explains the delegate.
For this, the Administration has drawn up an order for public use of this nature reserve in which the capacity per person is regulated, and which is about to be published. But can it be controlled in such a large and complex terrain? “More troops would be needed. Proportionally it seems that the less people go, there may be fewer accidents, but it is not inversely proportional”. In other words, they consider that fewer people can go and, if they do not respect the rules, accidents will continue to occur.
The administrations calculate that around 2,000 people have come to Las Chorreras in one day and most accidents occur in a pool with a drop of seven meters where it is “perfectly signposted” that it is forbidden to jump, and yet, “ Hundreds of people do it.” Rodrigo Molina also explains that there are about three kilometers from the car parks to this area and when the ambulance or firefighters had to go to get someone out, two or three hours have passed, with “the alarm that this has generated”.
“The site is very wide, it is difficult to control, but it is marked, there are prohibitions everywhere. But even so, there are complaints, many people go in July and August, which is when more accidents occur, along with people who get lost, who suffer fainting…”.
For all these reasons, the regional government and municipalities have decided to reinforce surveillance but also call “strongly” for prudence, individual civility, responsibility and respect for signaling. “For our part, we are going to try to reinforce, not only for the people but also to preserve the natural area, which is a protected asset. We hope that little by little people will become mentally aware”, he concludes.