DISCOVER THE NATURAL PARK OF THE HIGH PYRENEES
The Alt Pirineu Natural Park was created in 2003. The creation decree of the Park establishes as its basic objectives the protection of its values and the establishment of a system aimed at sustainable development throughout the territory of the natural space
It occupies an area of 79,317 hectares located between Pallars Sobirà and Alt Urgell. It is the largest natural park in Catalonia, with about 2,500 meters of difference between the lowest point (650 m at the sanctuary of Arboló -Gerri de la Sal-) and the highest point (3,143 the Pica d’Estats, the summit highest of Catalonia).
Its landscape diversity configures this space as a setting rich in natural elements with a wide range of architectural and historical heritage that gives life to this whole territory. The high geological, flora and fauna values, as well as material and immaterial heritage are well considered, and make this a great destination to discover.
The park’s hydrological system is remarkable for several reasons. Although some basins have undergone alterations due to hydrological exploitation for electrical production, we find lacustrine complexes of great interest, such as Certascan, located at 2,234 m altitude, with a length of 1,326 m and a depth of 104 meters , occupying an area of 58 hectares.
Other ponds of glacial origin that we can find in the Park are: Mariola, Naorte, Romedo, La Gallina, Blue Estanys, ponds of Port de Tavascan, Baborte, Baiau, Sotllo, Burg pond, Campirme, Finestres and Soliguera.
In the tail of the reservoir of La Torrassa we find the largest area of wetlands in the Park, included in the Natura 2000 Network and cataloged in the Inventory of Humid Zones of Catalonia.
From the lithologic point of view, almost all the area of the Park is constituted by a Cambro-ordovician style series formed by the alternation of sandstone with quartzites, conglomerates and rocks of volcanic origin. The areas of main lithological interest are: Port de Boet and Ponds of Baiau, Ferrera Valley – Port Vell, Certascan – Romedo, Llavorsí – Burg, black slates with Lleret pyrite, quasitic banks of Isil and Besan, antiformal fold in the north from the confluence between the Tor river and Vallferrera walnut, Marimanya granite and several limestone outcrops scattered throughout the park.
We find a great diversity of landscapes of high and medium mountains, with abundant anthropic elements of interest (mosaic of meadows and forest, cores of borders, …) and more than a hundred of ponds of glacial origin. Emblematic places such as Bonabé, Àrreu valley, Noarre, Boavi plain, Boet plain, Négua plain, Virós forest, Santa Magdalena valley, Mollera d’Escalarre and Ras de Conques.
There’s a rich diversity of habitats in the Park, mainly due to its altitudinal variability and the large surface area. The interest lies in 6 habitats of priority community interest, among which there are the only formations of savannah turiferous in Catalonia and 30 habitats of non-priority community interest. For example, ponds and rivers, some not disturbed by hydroelectric exploitation, with an important representation of wetlands, peatlands and humid meadows. Or, alpine meadows above 2,400 meters, extensive and well-preserved forests of black pine, red pine and fir, which include sectors with a high degree of maturity, as well as isolated beech cores. The typical habitats of scallops and rocams are very well represented, with very singular species of flora adapted to live under these extreme conditions of lack of soil and nutrients.
Flora and vegetation
The vegetation of the Park is very diverse. Vegetable communities are distributed according to the altitude gradient, orientation, rock type and human influence. We find a great floristic diversity of boreoalpine, Eurosiberian and Mediterranean influence, with more than 1,500 species of vascular flora. Among others, there are 22 threatened or very rare species, such as Juniperus thurifera, Hippuris vulgaris, Cerinthe glabra or Salix hastata. It also emphasizes the snow flower (Leontopodium alpinum), an example of the few limestone outcrops of the Park.
In the lower parts, it dominates the Mediterranean influence, with extensive holm oaks, although most of the territory is covered with Eurosiberian vegetation and boreoalpine. In average altitudes, pine woods and several scrubland and meadows predominate and at higher altitude, black pine forests and fir trees are developed, giving way to alpine meadows and rock vegetation.
We also find large monumental trees, such as the spruce of the Pla de la Selva or the Tender of the Reguerals.
The Natural Park of the Alt Pirineu has the largest representation of the largest wildlife in Catalonia: the rooster has the largest Iberian population; The golden eagle, the vulture and the bearded are frequent; Six species of large herbivorous mammals (isard, mufló, roe deer, deer, deer, wild boar) can be observed; and even the mythical brown bear often walks through the northernmost valleys.
The open environments of the alpine resort have among its most notable inhabitants the white partridge, the white wing sparrow and the rocks. In the high mountain forests, in addition to the rooster, the Pyrenean owls, the Schooner, the Pyrenean raspinell and the Martha are remarkable. The extensive network of rivers of the Park is the habitat of good trout populations and some unique semi-aquatic vertebrates, especially almesquera – a small threatened and endemic insectivorous mammal in the Iberian north -, the otter, water and the waterbird.
The previous species are remarkable due to their peculiarity or uniqueness in the context of Catalonia, but without doubt, the most important animal in the Park is the Palladium lizard. This species lives in the high mountains, it is related to two other lizards of the Pyrenees and was discovered recently, in the decade of the nineties. It is endemic to a small area of the Pyrenees between the massifs of Mont-roig and west of Andorra, in a certain way we find most of its world population within the limits of the Natural Park.
Culture and history
The Natural Park is part of a context with a significant historical and traditional human activity. We find an extensive cultural heritage built, especially popular architecture and Romanesque art. The livestock activity has led to the presence of important sets of edges, huts and plots. We also find an important archaeological heritage, related to Iron steelmaking and Pastoral Activity from the Neolithic period to the Middle Ages. Rural industrial activity has inherited an important heritage, with hydraulic sawmills, moles, forges, hydroelectric infrastructures, etc. The spiritual tradition has given rise to places of great religious significance, such as the sanctuary of Arboló, the church of Santa Maria d’Àneu or the hermitage of Santa Magdalena. And finally, this territory had an intense military activity during and after the Civil War, which has left numerous remains and military infrastructure.
Casa dels Parcs dels Pirineus:
Avinguda de les Valls d’Andorra, 33 (edifici de l’antiga duana)
25700 La Seu d’Urgell
Tel. 973 360 954
Segueix el Parc a:
- APP DE L’ALT PIRINEU: Deixa’t Guiar Alt Pirineu. Gaudeix de la nova APP sobre el Parc Natural de l’Alt Pirineu. Enllaços descàrrega.
- iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/es/app/alt-pirineu-deixat-guiar./id735501332?mt=8
- Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pnap&hl=ca
- EXPLORA EL PARC: El programa de Turisme Familiar al Parc. Més informació a exploraelparc.cat
- PRODUCTORS I ARTESANS DEL PARC: Apropa’t als productors i artesans del Parc. Programa de visites a tallers i obradors del Parc. Http://parcsnaturals.gencat.cat/ca/detalls/Article/Material-Apropat-als-productors-i-artesans-del-Parc.