Today, January 29, 2018, is a day that will go down in history for conservation, as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President and CEO of Tompkins Conservation, join forces for the official ceremony to complete what they pledge to do last year: create five new national parks in Chile and expand three others. Tompkins Conservation’s two flagship projects in Chile – Pumalín and Patagonia Parks, are now becoming national parks.
Together, the Chilean government and Tompkins Conservation are adding a total of more than 10 million acres of new national parklands to Chile, an area that’s larger than Switzerland. With one million acres of land from Tompkins Conservation and 9 million acres of federal land from Chile, this landmark partnership has been billed as the single largest public/private national park effort to date.
At the official ceremony today, held in what is now Patagonia National Park Chile, Kristine Tompkins stated, “here we are, 26 years later, helping to create five new national parks and expanding three. This is a reflection of the power of dreams and ideas, built trail by trail, curve by curve, and by hurricane of documentation and determination, from La Moneda to the Beagle Canal.”
Patagonia National Park Chile and Pumalín National Park will be key destinations in the network of parks of Chilean Patagonia. These parks are already open to the public, welcoming visitors from Chile and around the world to experience Patagonia’s natural beauty, which will now be permanently protected for all visitors and the creatures that call these parks home.
Kristine Tompkins and Douglas Tompkins, her late husband, have dedicated the last quarter century to leading projects to protect wildlife and wildlands in Chile and Argentina, with the ultimate goal of creating national parks to ensure the maximum level of protection possible. To date, Tompkins Conservation has donated roughly two million acres of land for conservation purposes, and together with governments and other partners have protected roughly 13 million acres in total. Tompkins Conservation is also the leader in the Americas in what is known as “rewilding,” restoring natural ecosystems and reintroducing wildlife that has disappeared from a region because of human pressures. The Leonard DiCaprio Foundation is a key supporter of Tompkins Conservation’s rewilding work in the Iberá wetlands of Argentina.