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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tenerife's Secret Jewel: Teno Rural Park

Teide from Teno Alto

The island of Tenerife has a wide variety of endemic flora and fauna, as well as several different landscape structures and, almost 45% of the island is protected. The jewel in the crown is the Teide National Park, created in 1954, but the island also has the Corona Forestal Nature Park and the Anaga and Teno Rural Parks.

The population of the Teno Rural Park resides in small villages and many still live off the land through agricultural and farming activities. Among these hamlets are Los Carrizales, Masca, El Palmar, Las Portelas and Teno Alto, which together have around 1,500 inhabitants.

Finca Los Pedregales

The area of the park is around 8,063.6 hectares and this unique landscape is testament to the importance that agriculture had for the local economy in the past. There are various houses renovated to offer rural accommodation, as well as a hostel, the Albergue de Bolico, situated very close to Las Portelas. The park's management office is located at the finca Los Pedregales, in the valley of El Palmar.

Flora and Fauna

Because of its altitude and position, the Teno area contains a great biological diversity and is a refuge for various threatened species, such as the birdlife of the sub-tropical rainforest or endemic lizards. The most representative forest area is the Monte del Agua, with many endemic plant species and, which is the remains of woodlands of the Tertiary period.

Natural Values

The Teno area is an ancient volcanic mass, which the processes of erosion have modeled to its current landscape, forming giant cliffs on the coast. The last volcanic activities in the area formed valleys and opened in the shape of a fan, giving rise to the Isla Baja (Low Island) areas, such as Buenavista del Norte and Teno Bajo.

The present geography is characterized by fertile valleys, such as that of El Palmar and by deep ravines, such as Masca. On the west coast are the impressive Los Gigantes cliffs, which reach over 500 meters in height.

Historical Heritage

Amongst local produce of importance are; potatoes, cheese, wine, saffron, fruit and honey. All of these products are produced commercially in the area. Meanwhile, in Teno Bajo, tomatoes are produced. Around Buenavista del Norte, there are plantations of bananas and nurseries for flowers.

Despite the demise in artisan products in general, in Masca you can still find items made from palm leaves and wickerwork in Las Lagunetas and El Palmar. In some hamlets, you can still find old kilns for making roof tiles and bread ovens.

The festivities celebrated in the various villages are mostly related to the end of harvest, in the months of September and October. Of particular historical and cultural interest is the Dance of Las Libreas, which is unique to El Palmar.

The Teno area has been protected as a Natural Park since 1987 and was reclassified to its present category of Rural Park in 1994, under the Canary Islands' "Law of Natural Spaces". A special protection zone for birds has also been declared.

Parque Rural De Teno

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