Chile Signs Protocol to Create a New National Park

Apr 2, 2024 | Chile, Parks, Rewilding

The government of Chile is taking steps to protect Cape Froward, a remote wilderness on the coast of the Brunswick Peninsula, the southernmost point of the South American continent. The move to create this new national park furthers Chile’s commitment to taking concrete measures in order to mitigate the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

(Header photograph by Chilean Ministry of Environment)

March 28, 2024—SANTIAGO, CHILE Leadership from the Chilean government met with Kristine Tompkins, President and co-founder of Tompkins Conservation, and Carolina Morgado, Executive Director of Fundación Rewilding Chile, to sign a protocol agreement to create Cape Froward National Park. The protocol establishes the procedure for the creation of this new protected area of over 300,000 acres, similar to the size of Grand Teton National Park in the United States. 

Located 62 miles southwest of Punta Arenas, the first national park in President Gabriel Boric’s home county would also mark progress in the country’s stated goal at COP15 to protect 30% of land by 2030. Chile’s Environmental Minister Maisa Rojas celebrates the future park as an invaluable treasure of sub-Antarctic biodiversity. Largely unexplored, this rugged region is a refuge for highly endangered species, including the huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus), one of the most endangered large land mammals on the IUCN Red List, and the critically endangered ruddy-headed goose (Chloephaga rubidiceps).  

The peninsula marks a transitional ecosystem between land and sea, where diverse marine life, including Magellanic penguins, Peale’s dolphins, and Sei and humpback whales, feed off nutrients provided by the Antarctic, Pacific and Atlantic currents and coasts are lined with dense kelp forest. Subantarctic forest covers nearly half of the proposed donation area, which also features 24,710 acres of peatlands, an ecosystem considered critical to carbon storage and climate change mitigation.  

The future national park will be formed with the donation of 231,000 acres by Rewilding Chile, thanks to the generous support of its strategic partner and donor Tompkins Conservation and a philanthropic network of donors, including Lucy Ana Avilés, Drake Foundation, Patagonia, Inc., the Wyss Foundation, Jack and Laura Dangermond & Esri, Crawford Williams Foundation, Art into Acres, Jimmy Chin and others, combined with protected fiscal lands from Cape Froward (10,000 acres) and the Batchelor River Sector of Bahía Tres Islas (60,000 acres). 

For Kristine Tompkins, President of Tompkins Conservation, “It’s hard to believe that only a quarter of the Earth is left untouched, despite our understanding that whole and functioning ecosystems are the principal life force of our planet.” She added, “Today I’m proud of Chile for recognizing how national parks can benefit both nature and communities in so many ways, from providing essential ecosystem services to helping build regenerative economies.”