Thursday, March 04, 2021

Teno Alto doesn't want so many visitors

The hamlet of Teno Alto with a vista of Mount Teide

Neighbors complain about excess traffic, invasion of spaces, parking and cleaning problems caused by visitors. Residents in this hamlet in the north west of Tenerife are asking the council to mark parking areas, put up informational signs and increase the police presence to prevent the lack of civility of some visitors from complicating circulation, harming livestock activity, deteriorating the ethnographic heritage and affecting the daily life of the few inhabitants of this nucleus, especially during the weekends.

In the hamlet of Teno Alto, in Buenavista del Norte, only 65 people reside permanently. It is one of the most isolated and remote nuclei of Tenerife that has traditionally lived on livestock and subsistence agriculture. Located outside the tourist circuits of the masses, in Teno Alto they are used to living with a tranquillity that they now see threatened. 

The place has become fashionable and every weekend many hikers and visitors come with their vehicles to walk, take pictures, fly drones or spend some leisure time. Neighbours complain of problems with traffic, parking, rubbish, trespassing, and lack of civility. 

They've had enough and do not want so many visitors.

The residents have approached the Buenavista Council to take measures to prevent the attitude of some visitors from affecting livestock activity, ethnographic heritage and their quality of life. The mayor, Antonio González Fortes (Sí se Podemos), other councillors and the head of the Local Police met with neighbourhood representatives last Tuesday to “evaluate the situation generated by the increase in visitors to the village, which is notorious every day, but it becomes more pronounced on weekends, which causes discomfort”.

The increase in traffic is what worries them most, since the road to Teno Alto does not have space for two vehicles throughout its route. In addition, from the area known as Los Bailaderos, the roads that connect the different nuclei of Teno Alto only allow, for the most part, the passage of a single vehicle. Added to this situation is the disorder in the parking area, which is why, as a first measure, it has been agreed to signpost the parking areas next to the Teno Alto square.

The lack of civility of some people who visit the village is a source of problems: there are hikers who abandon the marked paths and invade private properties with the aim of taking photos or resting. There are farms that seem abandoned, but they are used to graze goats and the transit of groups of people affects livestock, as do drone flights, "which is a prohibited activity in the area."

The hamlet is dotted with buildings of great ethnographic value that, for the most part, are privately owned but attract the attention of visitors who come to them to get to know them up close. Sometimes they do so without respecting their integrity or the privacy of their owners. This lack of civility is also reflected in the appearance of garbage on the roads and even excrement in tagoras (Semicircular wall of dry stone that is made in the field to protect from the wind) and other buildings.

The mayor clarifies that "visitors are always welcome in Buenavista, but they should not forget that traffic regulations also apply in rural areas and a visit cannot interrupt the normal development of life in this enclave." The council is committed to improving signage, especially in relation to parking; reinforce the police presence, and initiate an awareness campaign with the support of the Cabildo.