The Masca Gorge has Remained Closed for Three Years as Red Tape Prevents Construction of New Pier.

Work on the path has been completed but the opening is delayed due to the Coastal Service blocking permission to use the Pier to exit via boat.

The story begins back in February 2018 with the complicated rescue of eight German hikers who were trapped on the beach at the mouth of the gorge during the middle of a storm. This was the last straw for the former mayor of Buenavista del Norte, Eva García, as years of accidents, evacuations, injuries and even fatalities persuaded her to sign a decree the following day, ordering the full closure of the gorge and prohibiting the use of the pier. 

Next Friday, the 25th of February marks three years of the gorge being closed and it will remain closed until the Coastal Service allows provisional use of the pier. Otherwise, the opening of the gorge will have to wait for the Cabildo de Tenerife to reconstruct the Pier which has been budgeted at almost one million euros. This is after €950,000 which has already been spent on repairing the trail through the gorge and improving safety measures due to storms damaging and deteriorating the trail. 

The understanding of both the Council of Buenavista del Norte and the Cabildo de Tenerife was that the Coastal Service would grant permission to use the pier provisionally alongside the restructuring works. However as the official bodies changed leadership, both in the Council and the Coastal Service, this has brought a firm redline to the project as the criteria for using the pier has changed. 

Because it is essential to the gorge to have an exit via the sea to enable the reopening of the gorge to the public, all three official bodies are in negotiations to see whether the Coastal Service will change its priorities and enable the provisional use of the pier. Otherwise, the gorge and beach will remain closed until 2022 if no agreement is reached this year. The council of Buenavista has hired personal to mage the pier and control the flow of people entering the gorge, reaffirming to the coastal service that safety measures are in place to use the pier. 

Isabel García, a councillor for Natural Environment and Security Management, “The new pier has already been designed, the project is approved, has all the permits and has funding in the island budget for 2021. The City Council and the Cabildo are finalizing the collaboration agreement for the execution of the works, when firm, all the documentation will be presented to the coastal service, so they can check we are making progress and assess the temporary authorization." 

Additionally, the works will have to respect the mating season of the Guincho's and osprey's, in danger of extinction, which begins in March and ends in August. "There are issues that can be anticipated, since it carries a footbridge (the pier) that may be built-in another area and then moved there" García adds. Furthermore, the minister highlights that “the pier will be safer than ever, since for the first time it would have two workers from Tragsa and the Buenavista del Norte City Council, who would always be helping with boarding manoeuvres and disembarkation. So much less risk would be taken than before ”.

Finally, the residents of Masca have asked for additional parking measures and regulations as hikers are leaving their cars unattended and using the few parking spots available for hours at a time. The council of Buenavista del Norte has already approved a parking scheme which in principle aims to get more tourists and hikers to use public transport.