MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, October 20th 2017 - 05:14 UTC

Chile expands Patagonia national parks with Tompkins Foundation donation

Saturday, April 15th 2017 - 08:10 UTC
Full article 7 comments
The Tompkins Foundation of one million acres will help form a network of 17 national parks along Patagonia that spans most of Chile. The Tompkins Foundation of one million acres will help form a network of 17 national parks along Patagonia that spans most of Chile.
The donation will aid efforts in “rewilding” Patagonia, an effort to roll back decades of development and deforestation. The donation will aid efforts in “rewilding” Patagonia, an effort to roll back decades of development and deforestation.
The Chilean government agreed to pledge an additional 10 million acres under Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. The Chilean government agreed to pledge an additional 10 million acres under Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
The expansion will create five brand new national parks and add acreage to other parks, creating the “Route of Parks” running North-South along Chile. The expansion will create five brand new national parks and add acreage to other parks, creating the “Route of Parks” running North-South along Chile.

Chile set aside 11 million acres of land for national parks aided by the largest private land donation from a private entity to a country. The conservation effort of the Tompkins Foundation helped pave the way for Chile to greatly expand its conservation of the pristine Patagonia wilderness.

 The Tompkins foundation was established by Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the previous CEO of Patagonia, and the late Doug Tompkins, the co-founder of North Face and Esprit. The couple, known for purchasing large chunks of land in Patagonia for conservation, have always had the ambition to protect and conserve the Patagonian wilderness for generations to come.

However, their efforts weren't always well received by the Chilean government and citizens. The Tompkins were accused of attempting to split Chile in two to form a new state or as CIA spies intending to infiltrate the Chilean government. It took decades to build the trust of Chile that their intentions were well founded and this move to donate 1 million acres of land to the Chilean government solidifies their relationship with Chile. Tragically, Doug Tompkins wasn't able to witness the culmination of decades of his work as he passed away in 2015 due to severe hypothermia during a kayaking accident.

“I know that if Doug were here today, he would speak of national parks being one of the greatest expressions of democracy that a country can realize, preserving the masterpieces of a nation for all of its citizenry,” Kristine McDivitt Tompkins said of her late husband.

The Tompkins Foundation of one million acres will help form a network of 17 national parks along Patagonia that spans most of Chile. This donation will aid efforts in “rewilding” Patagonia, an effort to roll back decades of development and deforestation.

The Chilean government agreed to pledge an additional 10 million acres under Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. This expansion will create five brand new national parks and add acreage to other parks, creating what is called the “Route of Parks” running North-South along Chile. The total 11 million acres of protected national park land is larger than Denmark and three times larger than Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks in the US combined.

The expanded parks are anticipated to aid in Chile's ecotourism, generating an estimated US$270 million per year in revenue and providing over 40,000 jobs to locals. The new protected areas include a diverse collection of ecosystems from deserts to volcanoes to rainforests. With this addition of national park acreage Chile climbs the ranks in countries with the highest percentage of protected land, comparable in percentage to Costa Rica.

The move to greatly expand the Chilean national park system comes with obvious contrasts to today's political environment under the Donald Trump administration, who has rejected climate change, proposed to slash the US Environmental Protection Agency's budget, and roll back important preservation accords.

Categories: Environment, Tourism, Chile.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • DemonTree

    It's nice to see some good news for once. Also, bigger than Denmark? Damn, there's so much space down there. Maybe Chile and Argentina could benefit from some more immigration from the very overpopulated England? ;)

    Apr 15th, 2017 - 11:00 pm 0
  • ElaineB

    @ Markic

    That was a nasty rant but what you fail to mention is the Chilean elite families (The Big Families) do much the same. So are you really angry that an American had wealth and influence or do you have a general hatred and envy?

    Apr 17th, 2017 - 11:31 am 0
  • The Voice

    Hows about that Nostrils, Stink/Voice and various other RG trolls? Altruistic 'Anglo' funding of natural resources that everyone can enjoy. Nothing to match that in RGland...Wonder why?

    Apr 15th, 2017 - 09:33 am -1
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!