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Spain Designates Northern Park

August 27, 1995

Northern Spain's Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe)--a stretch of lofty mountains with peaks topping 8,530 feet--have been designated a Spanish national park, making it the largest national park in continental Europe, according to Spanish authorities.

The Picos de Europa are part of the Cordillera Cantabrica (Cantabrian Mountains), a rugged range that spans northern Spain from the Pyrenees to the Galician Mountains on the Atlantic Coast. It is a geologically important area and is characterized by lofty peaks and plunging gorges.

The new 160,600-acre park is one of the last great tracts of wilderness in Europe, more familiar to European hikers, campers, hunters and fishermen than to many North Americans. It has a unique ecosystem and is home to several endangered species including the brown bear and various wild birds. Giving the area national park status will enable authorities to enforce protective measures including the banning of four-wheel-drive vehicles and limiting camping to designated sites.

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