On Monday, one million acres of land was officially donated to the Chilean national park system by Tompkins Conservation (the late founder of The North Face Doug Tompkins and his wife, Patagonia CEO Kristine Tompkins). That land was joined by nine million acres of land from the Chilean government to create 10 million acres of new national park land.
In the largest donation of land from a private entity to a country, Tompkins Conservation officially transferred the land over to Chile yesterday by signing the deal with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
The deal expands three existing national parks, officially creates Pumalín National Park and Patagonia National Park Chile and will create five new national parks. In total, the land is three times larger than the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone combined, or roughly the size of Switzerland.
President Bachelet touched upon the importance of this preservation in her speech, “With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, we … expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres. Thus, national parklands in Chile will increase by 38.5 percent to account for 81.1 percent of Chile’s protected areas.”
Today, January 29, 2018, Kristine Tompkins of @tompkins_conservation and Chile's President Michelle Bachelet signed a declaration to add Patagonia National Park and Pumalín National Park to Chile's national park system.⠀ ⠀ These donations are part of a 10 million-acre addition to Chile's national park system—with approximately one million acres of land from Tompkins Conservation and nine million acres of federal land from Chile—which will add five new parks and expand three more. These national parks will safeguard Patagonia's wilderness, provide a boon to economic development in southern Chile, and continue to welcome Chileans and international tourists alike. ⠀ ⠀ This is an unprecedented victory for conservation that's been in the making for more than 25 years and cements Chile as a global leader in conservation.⠀ ⠀ Photos: L. Waidhofer, C. Henderson, Kate Larramendy, @tompkins_conservation
The Tompkins have been buying and preserving land in Chile for two decades, which was first met with much apprehension by locals. But with their commitment to working with local and national governments, as well as the local people themselves, the tide turned.
According to a study commissioned by Tompkins Conservation, the expanded park system has the potential to bring Chile $270 million in revenue a year and to employ 43,000 people in the region.
Tompkins Conservation and its partners have protected roughly 13 million acres of land to parks systems in Chile and Argentina to date. Tompkins herself had this to say about the monumental deal, not only for Chile, but for conservation everywhere:
“I am proud of my husband Doug and his vision which continues to guide us, in addition to our entire team, for completing these two national parks and the broader network, a major milestone of our first 25 years of work.”
Read more about national parks from ASN