Pumalín National Park to Carry the Name of its Founder, Douglas Tompkins

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Photo: James Q Martin

President of Chile Recognizes Tompkins Conservation Founder by Naming New National Park in His Honor

PRESS RELEASE

February 27, 2018 — La Moneda Palace, Santiago, Chile

At the La Moneda Palace in Santiago, Chile, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President of Tompkins Conservation, signed the decree to create “Pumalín National Park – Douglas R. Tompkins.” This marks the final act in creating the network of parks of Chilean Patagonia, which establishes over 10 million acres of new national parklands and includes what has been billed as the largest donation of land from a private entity to a country in history. With today’s signing and naming ceremony, the government of Chile recognizes Douglas Tompkins’ legacy by giving his first and most iconic conservation philanthropy project his name.

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins stated: “On behalf of our family and the Tompkins Conservation teams in Chile, Argentina, and the United States, I feel honored that Doug’s vision to create national parks is recognized in a permanent way, by putting his name on his beloved Pumalín Park.”

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Douglas Rainsford Tompkins, 1943-2015. Photo: Tompkins Conservation

Douglas Tompkins began the creation of Pumalín in 1992 by buying large tracts of land to protect the region’s pristine temperate rainforests. Today Pumalín encompasses 994,000 acres—larger than Yosemite National Park—including almost 725,000 acres donated by Tompkins Conservation. The park stretches from the heart of the Andes Mountains to the fjords of the Pacific Coast and harbors the endangered Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides), some of the oldest living trees on the planet. Located on the scenic Carretera Austral, Pumalín welcomes visitors from Chile and around the world to experience its natural wonders via the extensive network of trails, campgrounds, cabins, and other facilities.

It is remarkable that Doug’s legacy and dedication to conservation is being honored today at the highest level of the Chilean government, as his efforts and intentions were met with opposition and controversy initially. The tradition of environmental philanthropy was not customary, and as a result, locals were skeptical when they learned of foreigners acquiring vast areas of land for conservation. Over the years, though, as the Tompkinses demonstrated their intentions and communities began to benefit, skepticism subsided. Today, Pumalín and Tompkins Conservation’s other projects like Patagonia Park and Iberá Park in Argentina are not only widely recognized and visited by tourists from all over the world, but as a consequence of conservation, they are becoming sources of economic vitality for their surrounding areas.

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Lago Negro, Pumalín Park. Photo: James Q Martin

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins added: “We never imagined that this conservation partnership, between the government of Chile and Tompkins Conservation, would generate the overwhelmingly positive reaction at a national and international level that it has. However, now is when the real work begins. We have to embrace these national parks as our own. We have to care for them, defend them from harm…To imagine a future in which human communities thrive and the non-human world flourishes and evolves according to its natural course… This depends on each one of us.”

Press Contact:

Erin Louie Billman

Global Communications Director, Tompkins Conservation

louie@tompkinsconservation.org

About Tompkins Conservation: Tompkins Conservation collaborates with the governments of Chile and Argentina, local organizations, and communities to create national parks—places of beauty, abundant wildlife, and recreation that serve as sources of income and pride to neighboring communities and the entire nation. For more information see www.tompkinsconservation.org/who_we_are or visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Tompkins Conservation was founded by Kristine and Douglas (1943–2015) Tompkins, business leaders from iconic American clothing brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., who changed the course of their lives more than 25 years ago to devote their funds, time, and passion to fight the biggest crisis in the world: biodiversity loss. The Tompkinses ultimately concluded that creating large national parks where evolutionary processes could take their course was the most effective way to combat this loss. National parks represent the “gold standard” of biodiversity conservation, offering a unique set of ecological attributes, cultural values, ​​and economic benefits to local communities, while also guaranteeing long-term conservation. Tompkins Conservation is 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.  

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President of Chile and CEO of Tompkins Conservation Sign Decrees Creating 10 Million Acres of New National Parks

This includes Tompkins Conservation’s two flagship parks, Patagonia and Pumalín

PRESS RELEASE

January 29, 2018 — Patagonia Park, Chile

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President and CEO of Tompkins Conservation, today signed the decrees creating Pumalín National Park and Patagonia National Park Chile. The one million acres and world-class infrastructure they contain have been billed as the largest donation of land from a private entity to a country.

This marks the culmination of the pledge that President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins signed in March 2017 to create a network of five new national parks in Chile and the expansion of three others. Together, they are adding a total of more than 10 million acres of new national parklands to Chile, with one million acres of land from Tompkins Conservation and an additional 9 million acres of federal land from Chile. For scale, that is more than three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone combined, or approximately the size of the country of Switzerland.

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The Chacabuco Valley, Patagonia Park. Photo: James Q Martin

The signing of these decrees cements Chile as one of the global leaders in conservation today, a vision which President Bachelet touched on in her speech today. “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% to account for 81.1% of Chile’s protected areas.”

“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,” Kristine Tompkins 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.”

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.

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Pumalín Park. Photo: James Q Martin

From its inception, Tompkins Conservation’s objective has been to donate privately acquired land to parks systems to be protected at the highest level of conservation for generations to come. To date, the organization and its partners have protected roughly 13 million acres of land to parks systems in Chile and Argentina, where they have worked with local and national governments, nongovernmental organizations, scientists, activists, conservationists and their local staff to achieve permanent conservation.

About Tompkins Conservation: Tompkins Conservation collaborates with the governments of Chile and Argentina, local organizations, and communities to create national parks— places of beauty, abundant wildlife, and recreation that serve as sources of income and pride to neighboring communities and the entire nation. For more information see tompkinsconservation.org/whoweare or visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Pumalín Park. Photo: James Q Martin

Tompkins Conservation was founded by Kristine and Douglas (1943–2015) Tompkins, business leaders from iconic American clothing brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., who changed the course of their lives more than 25 years ago to devote their funds, time, and passion to fight the biggest crisis in the world: biodiversity loss. After careful analysis, Kristine and Douglas concluded that creating large national parks where evolutionary processes could take their course was the most effective way to combat this loss. National parks represent the “gold standard” of biodiversity conservation, offering a unique set of ecological attributes, cultural values, ​​and economic benefits to local communities, while also guaranteeing long-term conservation. Tompkins Conservation is 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.

Press Contact:

Alison Kelman

Communications Director

alison.kelman@tompkinsconservation.org

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Patagonia Park. Photo: James Q Martin

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Cerro Castillo Becomes a National Park; Isla Magdalena is Expanded

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Cerro Castillo National Park. Photo: Jimmy Chin

On October 2, on Chile’s National Environment Day, President Michelle Bachelet signed the decree creating Cerro Castillo National Park and extending Isla Magdalena National Park. The re-categorization of Cerro Castillo National Park, formerly a national reserve, will not only increase the protection status of this refuge for huemul deer, but will also protect one of the most distinctive landscapes in the region of Aysén. This decree will also create a destination for tourists that will directly benefit the towns of Puerto Ibáñez and Villa Cerro Castillo.

With the creation and expansion of these two parks, the process initiated by the Protocol of Agreement signed on March 15, 2017 between the Government and Tompkins Conservation has officially started. The Protocol calls for the creation of the “Network of National Parks of Chilean Patagonia,” which will add more than 10 million acres of national parklands. This is the largest creation of national parks in the last 50 years; a public-private effort, an historic legacy and hopefully an impetus for the consolidation of a system of protected areas on a global level.

As said by the President during the signing of these decrees, “Someone might ask: Is this an extravagance or a luxury, perhaps?” Like her, we think not, because this protection makes these places available to national and foreign visitors and opens up opportunities for economic development for the surrounding towns, through nature tourism and associated services.

Tourism stands as the main economic driver and the most sustainable option for these regions. National parks are the best way to increase the value of a landscape, and to make known the international recognition and to make known these attributes from a conservation instrument of long tradition and international recognition.

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Tompkins Conservation Donates an Additional 103,000+ Acres of Land to Iberá Park in Argentina

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Photo: Rafa Abuín

PRESS RELEASE

November 10, 2017 — Corrientes Province, Argentina

On November 10, 2017, the future Iberá National Park in San Nicolás, Argentina, gained over 103,000 additional acres of land as part of a new, historic donation from Tompkins Conservation. On Friday, November 10, at 11 a.m., Kristine McDivitt Tompkins made this milestone transfer of land, the second major donation from Tompkins Conservation to expand Iberá Park.  These donations to Iberá Park, along with the adjacent Iberá Provincial Park, will form the largest parklands in Argentina.

This donation is part of a broader plan signed in 2016 by Tompkins Conservation and the provincial and national governments of Argentina to form the grand Iberá Park, a protected area that will measure a total of more than 1.7 million acres– which is more than twice the size of Yosemite National Park. Of these 1.7 million acres of contiguous protected parklands, almost 1.36 million acres acres will come from Iberá Provincial Park and 370,000 acres will come from Tompkins Conservation.

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Video by Rafa Abuín: “Land Donation to Iberá Park”

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Iberá Park, Corrientes, Argentina. Photo: Juan Rámon Díaz Colodrero

While today Tompkins Conservation is celebrating their donation to and the expansion of Iberá parklands, this is not the only park in their conservation portfolio. Through Tompkins Conservation, Kristine Tompkins and her late husband, Douglas Tompkins, have spent the last quarter century investing $345 million to establish extensive protected areas in Argentina and Chile. To date, they have created six national parks, with five more currently in process. With on-the-ground teams and projects in both countries, they are currently focused on their pledge with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to create 10 million acres, which is three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks combined, of new national parks in Chile.

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San Nicolás, November 10, 2017. Photo: Rafa Abuín

Fueled by a sense of urgency and responsibility, as well as a deep commitment to natural beauty and strong connection to South America, Kris is proud of the work that Tompkins Conservation has accomplished to date and has in store over the coming year. “All of us who love the Earth can see how the threats to wild places and creatures are growing. Conservationists know there is tremendous and urgent need and have incredible opportunities to expand national park systems, to work with local communities linking ecotourism-related economic development and nature protection, and to help build a culture of conservation throughout society. This is crucial work–it’s the work we’ve been doing for decades now and will be doing with all of our energy and resources long into the future.”

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Photo: Rafa Abuín

Iberá Park serves as a shining example of natural and cultural preservation, thanks to its successful rewilding and species reintroduction projects and how it has benefited local communities. Various ongoing species reintroduction projects have already succeeded in bringing back anteaters, Pampas deer, tapirs, and peccaries, and are also supporting the return of green-winged macaws and jaguars. In recent years, Iberá Park has even been the greatest contributor to the local economy, fostering development from ecotourism and benefiting nearby localities, from Pellegrini, Concepción, and San Miguel, to Loreto, Villa Olivari and many others. Ecotourists and adventure-seekers can witness this work and experience the park firsthand by staying at Tompkins Conservation’s Hostería Rincón del Socorro, located in the heart of Iberá Park.

Press Contact:

Marian Labourt, Tompkins Conservation Argentina

mjlabourt@gmail.com

Tel: 54-11-48073976

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The team celebrates the donation with an afternoon picnic. Photo: Rafa Abuín

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Photo: Marisi López

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Kristine Tompkins Accepts the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

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On October 3rd, 2017, over 300 people gathered to celebrate the legacy of Andrew Carnegie, the “father of modern philanthropy,” and the nine esteemed Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipients. After processes into The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building behind tradition Scottish bagpipes, Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation New York, introduced the medalists to the crowd.

“Indeed, the munificence of the Carnegie Medal recipients is not only remarkable, but awe-inspiring,” said Gregorian. “You are living examples of Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic legacy and of those who have followed in his footsteps. You have all dedicated not only your personal wealth, but your reputations, your time, and your talents to causes of deep significance to you and to your communities: namely education, international peace, the environment, the arts, the protection of our democracy, and much, much more.”

Before the medals were presented, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble took the stage to perform a selection of instrumental songs and dances. Master of ceremonies, Katty Kay from BBC World News America, came to the stage to introduce each medalist.

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Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

“Today,” said Kay, “philanthropy is being called upon to play an even greater national and international role — in fighting poverty and other global ills, in funding research and development on issues like climate change and nuclear nonproliferation, and in sustaining democracy at home and around the world. Helping the people and the causes that need it most must always be the priority. Our former, current, and future medalists are all keenly aware of this.”

After Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest and Sir James Wolfensohn accepted their medals, Tompkins Conservation leader Kristine Tompkins took the stage, focusing her statements on the satisfaction she finds through her conservation philanthropy. “Getting up every day and focusing on the things we love has brought new dimensions into our personal lives that we never thought imaginable.”

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Kristine Tompkins surrounded by friends and supporters at the medal ceremony. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Kris was then followed by Azim Premji, Shelby White, Mei Hing Chak, Julian Robertson, and Jeff Skoll, who have all committed their philanthropic efforts to making the world a better place. Surprise guest Big Bird joined Sherrie Westin (Executive VP, Sesame Workshop) and Dr. Gregorian on stage to tell the crowd about his Yellow Feather Fund, which brings educational materials to children in need all around the world.

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Big Bird with Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Sherrie Westin, Executive VP, Sesame Workshop. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Kay concluded the ceremony with a quote from Andrew Carnegie himself: “Wealth is not to feed our egos, but to feed the hungry and to help people help themselves.”

From everyone at Tompkins Conservation, congratulations to all of the medalists!

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