Horses in the dunes area at Sa Canova. | Sophie Mono

The regional environment ministry is to put a stop to horses, bikes and quads using the dunes at Sa Canova (between Son Serra de Marina and Colonia Sant Pere).

The environmentalists GOB recently made public photographs of some forty horses being ridden on the dunes. Miquel Mir, the director for natural spaces at the ministry, says that the problem with horses has been known about for a long time. But when GOB released the photos, agents from the ministry were sent immediately. A plan for the management of the area, which will expressly forbid horses, bikes and vehicles, is to be opened to public consultation, with the expectation that it will be approved shortly.

The association of horse riders disagrees with any ban, arguing that the route is very old and is the only connection between Son Serra and Colonia Sant Pere. If there is a ban, then it is asking for an alternative route. Mir says that it isn't up to the ministry to find an alternative.

The attitude of the ministry has left the association indignant. It intends to stage a protest, with their horses, outside the regional government's Palma headquarters. The horseriders point out that walkers will also be affected and that the route is in fact a long-established public way that is listed by Arta town hall.

They add that the majority of horseriders are respectful of the environment and of other users of the route. "We believe there needs to be management and regulation, but nothing is solved by prohibition." The association is seeking to get horse routes that are approved and marked out, so that they can be used by residents and visitors to Majorca. The Sa Canova route, in the association's view, is emblematic and irreplaceable.