Category Archives: Park Creation

President of Chile, Tompkins Conservation Sign Historic Pledge to Create 11 Million Acres of New National Parks

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Photo: Linde Waidhofer

Pledge includes the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country

PUMALÍN PARK, CHILE (March 15, 2017) – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, leader of Tompkins Conservation, today signed a pledge to dramatically expand national parkland in Chile by approximately 11 million acres. The proposal includes the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country; the total area to be protected, via this private land donation plus government land, is three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined.

When fully executed, the agreement will create five new national parks — including two crown jewels of Tompkins Conservation’s park creation work, Pumalín Park and Patagonia Park, and the 1 million acres and world-class infrastructure they contain — and expand three others.

The signing of this historic pledge reflects a desire to continue and deepen Chile’s tradition of conservation, a sentiment which President Bachelet expressed in her speech today. “Today, alongside Kris, I am honored to see how everything has come together. … We are bequeathing to the country the greatest creation of protected areas in our history.”

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Photo: Government of Chile

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Photo: Linde Waidhofer

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Photo: Government of Chile

This proposal will help create the “Route of Parks,” a 17-park network spanning more than 1,500 miles from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn that Chilean citizens, nature lovers, global adventurers and tourists from around the world can enjoy. The Route will safeguard Patagonia’s wilderness and provide a boon to economic development in the South of Chile, with the potential to generate US$270 million in annual, ecotourism-related revenue and employ up to 43,000 people in the region.

To support the government in this ambitious endeavor, Tompkins Conservation, together with key partners, is committing to creating a Chilean-based Friends of National Parks foundation for ongoing park support.

“I wish my husband Doug, whose vision inspired today’s historic pledge, were here on this memorable day. Our team and I feel his absence deeply,” Kristine Tompkins said. “But I know that if Doug were here today, he would speak of national parks being one of the greatest expressions of democracy that a country can realize, preserving the masterpieces of a nation for all of its citizenry.”

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Photo: Government of Chile

Kristine and Douglas (1943–2015) Tompkins, business leaders from iconic American clothing brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., changed the course of their lives more than 20 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.

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U.S. Media Contact: Alison Kelman – Office 415.229.9365 // Cell 339.222. 8124 // alison.kelman@tompkinsconservation.org

Chile Media Contact: Carolina Morgado – carolina.morgado@tompkinsconservation.org

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American Conservation Philanthropists Receive Highest Biodiversity Conservation Award in Latin America

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BBVA Foundation Awardee Kristine Tompkins Meets with Argentina’s President to Create the Country’s Largest Park

Media Contact: Astrid Vargas, astridvgu@me.com

September 23, 2016—Buenos Aires—The BBVA Foundation has awarded the 2016 Biodiversity Conservation Award of Latin America to the Conservation Land Trust, a Tompkins Conservation foundation. This is the highest award that exists worldwide in the field of biodiversity conservation and has been awarded to Tompkins Conservation for “their great contribution to the conservation of biodiversity in Chile and Argentina through the creation and expansion of eight large protected areas that span over one million hectares, gifted to the respective governments for public access.” The award also recognizes the range of Tompkins Conservation programs such as private land purchase, habitat restoration, endangered species recovery, and the creation of economic alternatives in collaboration with local communities. The other winners of the award include Grupo para la Rehabilitación de la Fauna Autóctona y su Hábitat (GREFA), and journalist Carlos de Hita for his evocative “soundscapes” of nature.

The BBVA Foundation Award committee also recognized, posthumously, “the vision and leadership of Douglas Tompkins, founder of the Conservation Land Trust, and the value of altruistic participation in the conservation of nature.” Douglas died in December 2015 in a kayak accident on a lake in Chilean Patagonia.

Currently Tompkins Conservation is working in partnership with government to create six new national parks in Chile and Argentina, expand four existing parks, and help recover 12 endangered species of fauna. The total area preserved after the creation of these 15 national and 2 provincial parks will be over 6 million hectares (the size of six Yellowstone National Parks), presenting the world’s largest private land donation initiative for biodiversity conservation.

On the same day that the award became public, Kristine Tompkins met with the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, in the president’s official residence, to arrange the donation of Conservation Land Trust lands in order to create Iberá National Park. Once the donation is complete, the joint Iberá National Park and Iberá Provincial Park will be the largest protected natural area in Argentina. Tompkins Conservation has developed the most ambitious rewilding program in the Americas in Iberá, with the reintroduction of at least six locally extinct species of wildlife, including the jaguar, the largest cat in the Americas. Tompkins Conservation cooperates with authorities, companies, and foundations surrounding the park so that the approximately 100,000 people living in this vast region can benefit from the ecotourism that already exists in Iberá and is expected to increase dramatically with the creation of the new national park.

Douglas and Kristine Tompkins, both entrepreneurs of famous American sportswear brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., decided to change the course of their lives over two decades ago and devote all their funds, their time and passion to fight the biggest crisis in the world: the crisis of biodiversity loss. After careful analysis of the best way to combat the crisis of biodiversity, Kristine and Douglas concluded that the most effective way would be through the creation of large national parks where evolutionary processes could take their course. National parks represent the “gold standard” of biodiversity conservation, offering a unique set of ecological attributes, cultural values, ​​and economic benefits to local communities, and presenting the best guarantee of long-term conservation. Tompkins Conservation are also leaders in the Americas in what is known as “rewilding”: the task of reintroducing and restoring wildlife species that have disappeared from a region due to human pressures.

The example Douglas and Kristine Tompkins have made in the field of nature-focused philanthropy is exemplary. Their generosity, altruism, and commitment to the protection and restoration of wild nature is helping to change the global mindset in the field of philanthropy, which overwhelmingly has focused on cultural and social issues. The positive, hopeful work of the Tompkins Conservation team shows how bold, strategic philanthropy can protect beauty and biodiversity while improving the quality of life and income of people living in rural areas.

About Tompkins Conservation: Tompkins Conservation’s mission is to rewild the planet. We pursue this mission by creating national parks, reintroducing missing species, conserving biodiversity, restoring degraded lands, encouraging environmental activism, and supporting ecological agriculture. This work is accomplished through a group of charitable organizations founded by Kristine and Douglas Tompkins that are known collectively as Tompkins Conservation and through agricultural businesses owned by them personally.

For more information please visit www.tompkinsconservation.org

About Conservation Land Trust (CLT): CLT is dedicated to creating and/or expanding national or provincial parks to ensure the perpetuity of their ecological and evolutionary processes with the strongest long-term protection guarantee possible. CLT also supports programs for the protection of wildlife, reintroduction of locally extinct species, land restoration and programs for local development, normally involved in ecotourism, sustainable farming, and environmental education. Our programs at CLT are sustained by values that are based on an ecocentric view of the world, prioritizing the importance of ecosystems and all forms of life therein, regardless of their use to humans.

For more information please visit: www.theconservationlandtrust.org

About the BBVA Foundation: The Foundation engages in the promotion of research, advanced training and the transmission of scientific knowledge to society at large, focusing especially on the analysis of emerging issues in five strategic areas: Environment, Biomedicine and Health, Economy and Society, Basic Sciences and Technology, and Arts and Humanities. The BBVA Foundation designs, develops, and finances research projects in these areas; facilitates advanced, specialist training through grants, courses, seminars and workshops; organizes award schemes for researchers and professionals whose work has contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge; and communicates and disseminates such new knowledge through publications, debates, and lectures.

For more information please visit: http://www.fbbva.es/

U.S. Media Contact: Alison Kelman – alison.kelman@tompkinsconservation.org

Chile Media Contact: Carolina Morgado – carolina.morgado@tompkinsconservation.org

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The Corrientes Province Gives National Jurisdiction to Iberá Park, a Big Step Towards the Creation of Iberá National Park

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PRESS RELEASE September 7, 2016 — Corrientes Province, Argentina

A Project of The Conservation Land Trust and Tompkins Conservation

On September 1st, the Congressmen and Senators of the Corrientes Province in Argentina passed a law giving jurisdiction to the Argentinean nation over the 341,000 acres of lands owned by The Conservation Land Trust (CLT)—a Tompkins Conservation foundation devoted to the creation of national parks—sited within the Iberá region.

Sometimes called “the Argentine Pantanal,” Iberá is one of the planet’s great freshwater wetlands, covering more than 3.2 million acres (1.3 million hectares) of grasslands and marsh in the Corrientes Province of northeastern Argentina. The landscape supports fabulous wildlife including more than 360 species of birds. Doug and Kris Tompkins were introduced to the area’s biodiversity and conservation potential in the late 1990s. Since then, CLT has purchased several cattle ranches in the region in order to turn them into a national park, while restoring the extirpated fauna in what is now the largest rewilding program in America.

Since Argentina is a highly federal system and provinces have full autonomy on natural resources matters, getting a cession of this jurisdiction was a key step in the creation of the future Iberá National Park. This was especially challenging in a province like Corrientes, which has a long tradition of feeling independent from the Federal Government. The combined efforts of enlightened Correntino legislators, with full support from the provincial governor and CLT staff, made this change possible.

After this milestone, the issue of park creation will continue on to the hands of the Argentinean legislators, so they can establish Iberá National Park by law on what today are CLT lands. We are expecting this to occur in the coming months. When this national park is created, its combined area with the existing and adjacent provincial park will make it the largest conservation park in Argentina, covering over 1.6 million acres of wetlands, grasslands and forests.

Press contact: Ignacio Jimenez at i_jimenez_perez@proyectoibera.org

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Yendegaia National Park Book Launch Gathers Political Figures and Environmental Media to Santiago and Punta Arenas

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Presenters and speakers at the Santiago book launch at Catholic University, from left to right: Tompkins Conservation Chile Director Hernán Mladinic, Minister of the Environment Pablo Badenier, former President Sebastián Piñera, Douglas Tompkins, and book photographer Antonio Vizcaíno

Puerto Varas, April 6, 2015 – Yendegaia National Park has been identified as one of the most pristine wilderness areas in Chile. The park is home to ancient forests, glaciers, and unique freshwater ecosystems, the conservation of which is of significant biogeographic importance on a regional and national level. In September 2014, Fundación Yendegaia officially donated 38,000 hectares of land to the state of Chile for the creation of Yendegaia National Park, in parallel with a donation of 111,832.19 hectares of adjacent public land by the Chilean government.

On March 24th the Conservation Land Trust hosted the first of two book launch events for the newest book in the national parks collection, Yendegaia National Park. Over three hundred people attended the first book launch event, which took place at Catholic University in Santiago. At the event Douglas Tompkins was accompanied by the Pablo Badenier (Chile’s Minister of the Environment), Hernán Mladinic (Director of Tompkins Conservation Chile), former President Sebastián Piñera, and the book’s photographer Antonio Vizcaíno. The second release event was held on March 31st at the Regional Museum of Magallanes in Punto Arenas. Hernán Mladinic presented at each event along with Nicolo Gligo, the former director of Fundación Yendegaia, and Jorge Flies, the Regional Governor of Magellan.

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The celebration of the publication of Yendegaia National Park served as an occasion to show the power collaboration between public and private organizations can have in the world of conservation. The event also promoted discussion on the continuing value of national parks and generated enthusiasm for the preservation of wildlife in general.

The newly created park protects 13.9% of the Andean ecosystem in Magallanes and increased this type of conservation work on a national level by 55.6%.

Fotografía Aula Magna Universidad Católica- Santiago

Douglas Tompkins presents at Catholic University in Santiago

Expositores Punta Arenas Hernán Mladinic y Nicolo Gligo

Tompkins Conservation Chile Director Hernán Mladinic and former Fundación Yendegaia Director Nicolo Gligo present at the Punta Arenas book launch

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A packed house at the Punta Arenas book launch

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Douglas Tompkins and former President Sebastián Piñera share a congratulatory handshake at the Santiago book launch

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Hernán Mladinic with the Regional Governor of Magellan Jorge Flies in Punta Arenas



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Down to Tierra del Fuego to Sign Yendegaia Park into National Park Status

Group at Yendegaia

Photo: gob.cl

In early January, Doug Tompkins joined Chilean president Sebastian Piñera in the country’s southernmost region as the President officially designated the new Yendegaia National Park.  Despite some wet weather, the group managed to arrive within the bounds of the new park for a brief but energetic ceremony.

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President Sebastian Piñera and Doug Tompkins
Photo: Rodrigo Noriega

In his speech, Piñera thanked Tompkins Conservation for the land donation, reflecting that “this park has been created thanks to the efforts of Douglas Tompkins and his wife Kris, who have donated around 38,000 hectares to the Chilean State. This, combined with a further 112,000 hectares of State-owned land, will make up the Yendegaia National Park.” More on his remarks here.

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Various members of the park-making team
Photo: Rodrigo Noriega

Our team felt proud of this historic moment, as creating a new national park requires close collaboration with numerous governmental authorities and demands careful management and strategy.  The completion of this donation represents a very positive step toward partnering with the Chilean government to create other national parks down the line!

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