These are the key milestones leading to the Geologic Park
Jesús Mojas gives Costa Quebrada its name
Jesús moves to Cantabria, where he settles, in the 1960s. Right from the start, he is fascinated by the small beaches of golden sands, surrounded by stunning cliffs and whimsical shapes. They are the subject of his poems and thoughts, both while peacefully enjoying the beaches in summer and while sheltered from the harsh storms in winter.
At that time, he doesn’t know the name of every beach and corner. The need to identify those places leads him to inventing new names that he uses informally. As a natural consequence of this innocent reinvention, he gives a name to the whole area, and this fortuitous fact is the origin of everything, since, by giving it a name, he gave it its soul. The seed had been planted.
Jesús Mojas and Antonio Cendrero meet each other
Jesús Mojas and Antonio Cendrero meet each other at Somocuevas beach, one of the most charming beaches of Costa Quebrada, which they both frequently visit. Cendrero’s extraordinary communicative skills spark Jesús’s curiosity even more, and his bond with the dramatic landscape of this coastline becomes stronger.
At the time, Jesús devoted his spare time to poetry, which almost inadvertently led him to give the name of Costa Quebrada (literally “Broken Coast”) to this rugged coastline.
In Mojas’s own words: “Antonio Cendrero and I, born in Bilbao and Madrid respectively, both felt this land’s call at some point, and we shared the joy of frequenting this coastal strip, west of the city of Santander. And step by step, slowly but surely, Antonio, whose erudition is matched by his ability to make knowledge accessible, introduced me to the secrets of our coastline, and his fascination with the singularity of the area rubbed off on me. The name Costa Quebrada is already inscribed in the crevices of its magnificent coastal outcrops“
Costa Quebrada looked superb at the time. The most recent constructions had not yet reached the secluded beaches and the cliffs.
Costa Quebrada is listed in the first National Inventory of Sites of Geological Interest of the IGME (Spanish Geological Survey).
That pioneering work included three sites of geological interest that belong to the current Costa Quebrada Geologic Park.
The wave-cut platform of Covachos-Arnía-Pedruquíos is listed first, mainly due to its geomorphological interest, but also for stratigraphic and paleontological reasons. It is described as “a superb example of coastal retreat”.
Furthermore, the sand dunes of Liencres are also included due to their high geomorphological interest. It is the “largest and best developed dune field on the Cantabrian coastline, also from a botanical point of view”.
Finally, the stratigraphic sequence of Playa de los Peligros-Soto de la Marina is described as “the best series of the Cretaceous-Tertiary period on the Cantabrian strip”.
This first inventory is now integrated in the Spanish Inventory of Sites of Geological Interest currently in force, which emerges from Law 42/2007 on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity.
The first Teaching Guide is drafted.
The extraordinary educational value of this stretch of coastline does not go unnoticed by a team of geologists and naturalists who undertake the writing of an extensive teaching guide, where the name of Costa Quebrada is captured for the first time.
Antonio Cendrero Uceda, José Ramón Díaz de Terán, Emilio Flor Pérez, Enrique Francés Arriola, José Ramón González Lastra and Luis Salas Gómez’s descriptions of routes and sites of interest are enriched with naturalist Iñaki Zorraquín’s illustrations.
This work is put on hold, awaiting publication, for several decades. After Viola M. Bruschi joins the writing team, a careful review is made and the book “El litoral entre Santander y Liencres” (“The coastline between Santander and Liencres”) is published in 2016. Costa Quebrada Geologic Park.
The Prestige oil spill occurs.
The environmental disaster is a hard blow to local inhabitants and to all the people who are closely linked with this coastal stretch. When the oil reaches the coastline, we feel utterly helpless.
Jesús Mojas transforms helplessness into music, as he breaks into song whenever the occasion requires it. He invariably sings “Lágrimas negras” (“Black tears”), in a performance full of passion. Years later, in 2015, two musicians, Luis M. Sánchez and Cueto native Chema Puente (who is the author of “Santander, la marinera”, one of the folk anthems of the city), reinterpret the piece, giving it a new melody and a bolero air. The piece includes a field recording of the original melody and a few words of tribute for his many years of dedicated work for the cause:
The Working Group for the Recovery of Costa Quebrada is founded.
Helplessness quickly turned into mobilisation. The tragedy acted as the driving force of the process that led to the current Costa Quebrada, bringing together a very diverse group of people: from cleaning volunteers to beach users and local residents.
The main objective at the time was the demand of more resources to clean Costa Quebrada.
The first actions are closely linked with this pressing need: boards are installed at the entrance of the beaches affected by the oil slick, informing the users about the health and environmental risks of the substances contained in the oil. The authorities remove the boards within the next 24 hours.
A partir de ese momento se emprende una amplia campaña de sensibilización mediante la cual se trata de hacer visible la masa social involucrada en las demandas del entonces incipiente grupo. La campaña gira en torno a acciones reivindicativas y una producción gráfica que sirva como vehículo de expresión para los miembros y los numerosos simpatizantes en la zona.
From that moment on, an extensive awareness-raising campaign is launched, which highlights the social base involved in the demands made by the still incipient group. The campaign focuses on actions that convey their demands and the production of graphic support as a means of expression for members and the numerous local supporters.
To this end, T-shirts and stickers are produced, which refer to the alarm generated by the presence of oil on the beaches. The first webpage is created. It not only shows the environmental threats emerged, but it also makes reference, for the first time, to the geological value of this coastal stretch, displaying simple, novel animations. The campaign is highly successful, and T-shirts and stickers are soon sold out.
One of the protest actions stands out among the rest: the occupation of the roundabout. It is a symbolic action carried out in high season, at one of the most important access points to the beaches, the Corbán roundabout. Beach umbrellas are placed there and a beach day is improvised, away from the oil threat.
Costa Quebrada officially becomes a registered association by the end of the year. For communication purposes, however, the longer, more explicit name of “Working Group for the Recovery of Costa Quebrada” is used, frequently abbreviated to “GRCQ”.
The first informative leaflet is published
The campaign, which had focused on the oil slick and its effects, was undoubtedly successful. But the real challenge was to get society involved in the conservation of a unique, fragile area: after all, the oil spill was, although very important, only one of the environmental problems affecting Costa Quebrada. The fundamental problem was the lack of sensitivity shown by users, local inhabitants and public administrations. This is why effort is put into raising awareness.
In the framework of the “To know, to feel, to appreciate, to protect” campaign, 5,000 leaflets are designed and handed out, which highlight the geological and landscape values of Costa Quebrada and the need to protect it.
The first field guide is published
It was necessary to publish clear material to complement the leaflets, as a natural extension of the information efforts made until then. The material’s contents would offer an introduction to the natural values of Costa Quebrada. To this end, a simple field guide was written and designed. A set of 10,000 copies was printed. The guide’s 24 pages contained all the basic information regarding geomorphology and climate, as well as the descriptions of the ecosystems and a brief inventory of the flora and fauna species found in them.
In 2009, a revised second edition of 10,000 other copies is published.
The first "Costa Quebrada Recovery Days" are organised.
The Costa Quebrada Recovery Days took place during three days. Geologist Antonio Cendrero, biologist Enrique Francés and the then Director General of Spatial Planning Miriam García gave relevant talks, and an unusual round table composed of two majors, three general directors and representatives of the environmental groups was organised. During the third day, 70 people took a walk along the coast and put the finishing touch on a successful event.
The first billboards are displayed
Two billboards displaying consecutive messages are designed and installed during the summer months at Corbán roundabout, the same place that had been “occupied” in 2003 and a strategic access point to Costa Quebrada.
These billboards show the contrast between a positive and a negative message. The same criterion will be met in the design of the billboards in 2006 and 2007.
The billboards, displayed during the busiest months, also contribute to spread the name of this coastline among local inhabitants and visitors. Costa Quebrada finally has an identity.
From then on, the name will be used naturally by many people and will spread quickly as a result of the work made by certain groups, such as landscape photographers.
"The Black Wave" documentary release
Ten thousand DVD copies of “The Black Wave” film, a documentary made by Justin Wheeler during the first months after the sinking of the Prestige, are released. It tells the tragedy from well-known surfer Dani García’s point of view, which represents not only surfers, but any other group of people who have a direct relationship with the sea..
The national magazine 3sesenta offers us a double page inside the publication.
The first information boards are installed
Along the entire coastal stretch eight information boards were installed, which highlight the biological and geological values of Costa Quebrada and their interrelations. The idea of focusing attention on the geological heritage begins to grow.
Multilingual self-guided itineraries are designed
In order to complete the information given in the boards and to offer self-guided contents that allow users to get relevant information during their coastal tours, 23 audio tracks are recorded. The audio tracks offer more details about the geological and biological elements that can be observed from the viewpoints where boards are found.
These audioguides are translated and recorded in English and French by native speakers. This material is saved in MP4 players along with other audiovisual resources: video clips, illustrations and aerial photographs, among others. These audioguides (23 portable media players) are made available to users at the tourist information offices and kiosks of the future Geologic Park.
A smartphone application that makes use of the technological potential offered by such devices will be developed in the near future.
First public night tidepool safaris
Following two years of designing, testing and developing night tidepool safaris with organised groups, the first safaris open to the public are offered during the summer. Their philosophy is expressed by the motto “Geodiversity engenders biodiversity” and their objective is to take the public closer to the fascinating world that appears once the sea retreats and the night falls.
This pioneering interpretive activity sets the quality bar for the rest of activities offered, such as tours, workshops and interpretive materials. It has been successfully adopted by several non-profit organisations in Asturias and the Basque Country.
Costa Quebrada joins the celebrations of the International Year of Planet Earth
The United Nations General Assembly, at the request of UNESCO and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), declares 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth. A wide range of events and initiatives take place all around the world, joining the celebration and featuring the slogan “Earth sciences for society”.
In the months prior to 2008, Costa Quebrada, in collaboration with the Department of Earth Sciences and Condensed Matter Physics of the University of Cantabria, prints bilingual materials, which are still in use today, to support interpretive itineraries. They include a summary of the geological history, from the deposition of the first rocky materials to the current geomorphological configuration. A map displaying the inventory of geological resources drawn up in previous years is also included.
We were born to protect Costa Quebrada’s scenery and environmental quality. That is why we carry out conservation actions, and collaborate with diverse organisations in nature preservation initiatives.
Costa Quebrada was born and belongs to the people. Every single day we work to weave a collaborative network with local population and economic fabric, public institutions and other environmental organizations.
We want to spread the enjoyment of Costa Quebrada as widely as possible. That is the reason why we do our best to assimilate people at risk of social exclusion, or affected by several types of disability.