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Yosemite and Torres del Paine twinning agreement

Monday, May 14th 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park
Torres del Paine Park Torres del Paine Park

California's Yosemite and Chile's Torres del Paine national parks administrators visited this week Punta Arenas and met with local authorities in the framework of the recently signed twinning agreement with the purpose of promoting sustainable tourism.

Michael Tollefson and Jose Linnebrink met with Magallanes Region officials underlining the significance of the close working relation established between the most emblematic national parks of United States and Chile. "A modern state has the challenge of responsibly blending the expectations of a more complex world with its interactions and transactions but strengthening local communities", said Eugenia Mancilla Magallanes Mayor who also pointed out the importance of sustainable tourism both for California and Magallanes Region. Chile is the second country, behind China, that has reached a twinning agreement with the US National Park Service, and more specifically with the Yosemite Park. Tollefson said that the first leg of the two year agreement will include an exchange of forest rangers and sharing experiences relative to the management of natural reserves and concession practices. Further on an exchange of management experts and forestry graduates will be considered. In related news Chile's Forestry Corporation, Conaf, pointed out that Torres del Paine, Los Pingüinos in Magadalena Island and Cueva del Milodón were the protected wildlife areas which most visitors, mainly foreigners, attracted. However other areas such as the national reserves of Magallanes and Laguna Parrillar, closer to Punta Arenas, have also experienced a considerable increase in the number of visitors and campers, mainly locals. Conaf statistics show that between 1995 and 2006 the number of visitors to Torres del Paine jumped from 43.264 to 114.380. Los Pingüinos soared from 1.521 in 1997 to 13.420, last year. Similarly with Magallanes and Laguna Parrilar that increased between 1995/2006, from 4.189 to 9.626 and from 4.875 to 7.388 visitors. But not all is rosy for Conaf. The Pali Aike national park, 5.000 hectares on the route linking Punta Arenas with Rio Gallegos, has rich evidence of volcanic activity dating back to thousands of years as well as vestiges of prehistoric life in "Cueva del Pali Aike" but the number of visitors never really took off. In 1998 the number was 1.111, in 2000 dropped to 608 and gradually climbed back to 1.371 in 2006.

Categories: Tourism, Latin America.

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