Chile Adds Five National Parks Over 10 Million Acres

By: | February 13th, 2018

Chilean president Michelle Bachelet has officially declared that Chile has created five sprawling national parks, and expanded the boundaries of another two, protecting vast swaths of the country’s rainforests, grasslands, and other wild terrains.

In this effort, Chile has added about 10 million acres (an area almost as large as Switzerland) to its protected area system.

“With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, we expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres,” said Bachelet in a statement. “Thus, national parks in Chile will increase by 38.5 percent to account for 81.1 percent of Chile’s protected areas.”

The expansion includes private land owned by U.S. philanthropists Doug Tompkins and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins. McDivitt Tompkins donated more than 1 million acres of land to Chile. It is being billed as the world’s largest donation of privately held land.  McDivitt Tompkins along with her late husband spent the last 25 years and hundreds of millions of dollars working on land conservation in Chile.

“The [parks] are born out of blisters and headaches and very difficult work—physically, politically, in every way,” said McDivitt Tompkins. “To get this done … is nothing short of a miracle. But miracles are just a product of hard work.”

McDivitt Tompkins has many more plans for the region. She said: “While we will continue to help promote and safeguard these parks, we are beginning to turn our attention to more new conservation and rewilding projects in Chile and Argentina as we work to save and restore big, wild, and connected ecosystems.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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