In one of the largest land donations in Argentine history, Doug and Kris Tompkins donated Estancia El Rincón to the national parks system of Argentina today, in a formal reception in Buenos Aires. In the northwest area of the Santa Cruz Province, the 37,500-acre El Rincón will expand Perito Moreno National Park. El Rincon encompasses the Lácteo River Valley, which provides access to the dramatic—and still-unclimbed—south face of San Lorenzo, Patagonia’s second-highest peak. Its granite walls and iconic pyramidal form make it the “Everest” of the region. Now, climbers and hikers from around the world have the opportunity to explore this valley, and try their luck at this iconic peak, if they dare.
Doug Tompkins first visited El Rincón in 1992 to scout out routes on San Lorenzo’s south face, considered one of the greatest challenges of the Patagonian Andes. He recalls his first encounter with this property: “I first visited Perito Moreno National Park in 1992, to scout the south face of Cerro San Lorenzo. My plan was to return later to make a first attempt at this wall, the largest and possibly most challenging of all in the Patagonian Andes. We entered the park from the south and began making our way north toward the peak, crossing the Lácteo River Valley, which lies outside the park boundaries. To our surprise, we found that the most spectacular area of the zone, for some reason, had been excluded from the National Park. My climbing partners and I had a clear feeling that this property must be purchased and integrated into the National Park. A year and a half later, I had the opportunity to buy Estancia El Rincón, which I did with the express intention of donating it someday into the national parks system.”
As Kris Tompkins said this morning, “This donation has been in the works for some time, largely because it took a long time to hammer out the details of future use and zoning within this new section of the park. We finally feel secure that our vision for this land is permanently designated through the legal donation documents–and off it goes. It’s a great day for us.”
The expansion of Perito Moreno National Park follows in the footsteps of Conservacion Patagonica’s donation of Estancia Monte Leon to Argentine National Parks to establish Monte Leon National Park, as well as the Conservation Land Trust’s contribution of private lands to create Corcovado National Park in Chile. This donation today represents a key milestone in our plan to contribute all our conservation properties into the national parks system of their respective countries.
We are thrilled to share this news and hope that one day you’ll have the opportunity to visit Perito Moreno National Park, surely one of Argentina’s most beautiful national parks.