Patagonia National Park
| Chile |
Area of Patagonia National Park: 130,499 acres (52,811 hectares)
Projected total area: 691,895 acres (280,000 hectares)
Estimated Carbon Storage: 114.8 million metric tonnes
An iconic east-west valley sculpted by the Chacabuco River forms the heart of Patagonia National Park. The Chacabuco Valley, a natural corridor through the Andes formerly used by nomadic peoples and wildlife, had suffered serious damage from past livestock grazing. The transition from ranch to parklands entailed dismantling hundreds of miles of fencing, removing sheep and cattle, and developing public-access infrastructure. One of the largest grasslands restoration projects in history, Patagonia National Park now offers outstanding recreation and wildlife-watching opportunities. The park is also home to Tompkins Conservation–led rewilding efforts focused on protecting cougars, Andean condors, Darwin’s Rheas, and the endangered huemul deer.
In 2004 Kris Tompkins arranged for her nonprofit, Conservacion Patagonica (now merged into Tompkins Conservation), to acquire Chile’s third-largest ranch as the core of a future park. Subsequent purchases increased the private conservation holdings. The 2017 protocol between Tompkins Conservation and the Chilean state formalized the donation of about 206,983 acres, which were combined with the existing Jeinimeni and Tamango National Reserves to create Patagonia National Park.