In Portugal, the Trilho Internacional dos Apalaches follows the Grande Roto Do Muradal-Pangeia in the Naturtejo UNESCO Global Geopark. While the geopark has been under a very restricted COVID-19 lockdown for much of the plast year, in a bit of good news, the past winter saw ample rains which helped to alleviate the three-year drought in the area.

In 2017, the section of the IAT located in the Muradal Mountains was almost completely destroyed by fires. Since then, the IAT in Portugal has been restoring paths and installing new interpretative panels and signage. Last year In the celebration of World Environment Day, dedicated to biodiversity, the Municipality of Oleiros planted about 27,000 native trees such as: strawberry tree, Portuguese laurel tree, alder, “sanguinha-de-água”, holly, and black and white “borrageira”. These native plantings, along with the restoration of protected habitats of high environmental value are designed to prevent future forest fires.

Strawberry tree

Meanwhile, the municipality of Oleiros invested half a million euros in the recovery and improvement of Orvalho Geotrail (part of the IAT sector in Portugal) and access to the Fraga da Água d’Alta waterfall.

Fraga da Água d’Alta Waterfall

The beauty of the work carried out in the new paths framed by the landscape of the Muradal Mountains attracted more than 20,000 curious people just after the first lockdown during May and June last year, and even before the inauguration of the new infrastructure that only happened in July. Summer last year was busy in the area, with a wonderful August month for the nice rural guest houses in the region.

Restored and improved Orvalho Geotrail in the Muradal Mountains

Coming next is the completion of the Interreg Project with IAT colleagues from Cáceres Province in Spain. This will make the connection between the Portuguese sector of IAT in Muradal Mountain/Oleiros and the border to Spain, crossing the whole UNESCO Geopark’s territory.

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