Pedro Pidal was born into the heart of an Asturian aristocratic family and he enjoyed the highest comforts and the best education that his privileged social position could provide him with. From a young age, his long summers in Asturias turned him into a great sports player -olympic medallist-, truly passionate about nature, who knew every inch of the Asturian mountains - especially the Picos de Europa- to the point of being considered today by many as the first Spanish mountaineer and one of the best disseminators of alpinism in the country.
He was someone who was capable of transferring his concerns to political activity, where he held posts of great responsibility on a national level. A member of parliament from the age of twenty-six and then a lifelong senate, his rhetorical ability and his heterodoxy on the parliamentary stage earned him the nickname "Arniches" in Congress.
He was enormously in love with Asturias to such an extent that the deep appreciation that he felt for Asturian nature led him to request, upon his death which occurred in 1941, that his mortal remains rested in the Ordiales Lookout, in the middle of Picos de Europa.
As life-long senate, Pedro Pidal developed his most passionate proposal: the protection of nature and the implementation of legal measures that led to the creation of the National Parks in Spain, following the North American model. This explains why his first intervention in the Senate in 1915 already marked the general outlines of what would become his law proposal.
He presented this proposal for the creation of the legal concept of the National Parks in December of that year, and defended it in the following months: "A castle, a tower, a temple is declared a National Monument to save it from destruction. Why should there not be sanctuaries for Nature?" These efforts came to fruition when, at the end of 1916, the National Parks Law was enacted, which many then wanted to rename the Pidal Law.
And, as its first place of application, Pidal -a dyed-in-the-wool Asturian, Asturianist and Covadongist - found that the first example of the new natural protected status was the Picos de Europa. Thus, on 22 July 1918, the Moñtana de Covadonga National Park was created (the first in Spain and one of the first in Europe) and was inaugurated by Alfonso XIII, making the most of his visit to Covadonga in September that year.
The Montaña de Covadonga National Park which was created in 1918 survived with barely any changes for almost eighty years. However, in 1995, it disappeared to make way for a new boundary, now extended, but with an identical status, that covers the three massifs of Picos de Europa, as well as important wooded areas on the southern slope. This is the Picos de Europa National Park, the current name of this Biosphere Reserve, substituting the one devised by Pidal and that incorporates the Cantabrian and Leonese places that were previously not included into the traditional protected status.