In a bid to protect the natural beauty of the Pindos mountain range in northwestern Greece, the government said yesterday it was designating the area a national park. The decision, signed by the heads of four ministries – Environment, Development, Culture and Agricultural Development – designates a protected zone along the mountain range which will be governed by strict rules on what type of activity can take place within its boundaries. The national park will be divided up into zones where certain practices will be permitted, such as the scientific study of the area’s ecosystem and archaeological excavations. Offenders will face stiff penalties, the government said. The Pindos mountain range extends from Macedonia and Epirus to central Greece. The range is divided into North and South Pindos by the Katara Pass near Metsovo.