Category Archives: Park Creation

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


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

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

Fotografía oficial presentadores-Santiago

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

Asistentes lanzamiento Punta Arenas

A packed house at the Punta Arenas book launch

Doug y Piñera- Santiago

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

Hernán Mladinic junto al Intendente Regional de Magallanes Jorge Flies- Museo Regional Punta Arenas

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


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.

Doug and El Presidente

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.

Varios del grupo

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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YENDEGAIA National Park Created!

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370,000 Wild Acres in Chile’s Tierra del Fuego

DECEMBER 12, 2013— In Tierra del Fuego—the southernmost extreme of the Americas—Chile will gain a spectacular new national park through landmark public-private collaboration between President Sebastian Piñera and Fundación Yendegaia, a branch of Douglas and Kristine Tompkins’ conservation projects. Fundación Yendegaia will donate the former Estancia Yendegaia (94,000 acres) toward the creation of the new national park, while the Chilean government will annex 276,000 acres of adjacent government land, to be upgraded to national park status.  The new park will be among Chile’s largest, only slightly smaller than the iconic and nearby Torres del Paine National Park.

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Detailed map of Yendegaia NP (left) and locator map of Tierra del Fuego (right)

Protecting 370,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, rare sub-Antarctic forest, lakes, and rivers, the park stretches from the Darwin Range to the Argentine border, and from the Beagle Channel to Fagnago Lake.  Yendegaia creates a contiguous biological corridor between Chile’s Alberto D’Agostini National Park and Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego National Park.  The new park protects the last frontier of pristine sub-Antarctic beech forest, one of Earth’s largest remnant of Gondwana, the last supercontinent from 180 million years ago. Long declared a “Priority Site for Conservation,” the area provides key habitat for three species in danger of extinction (red fox, river otter, and ruddy-headed geese), and a broad range of native flora and fauna, included 128 vascular plant species and 49 bird species.

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The name “Yendegaia” means “Deep Bay” in the indigenous Yámana language, from the property’s protected bay on the Beagle Channel.  To allow visitors to access this wild and largely pristine wilderness, Chile will develop public access, including trails and refugios, from the access points via Route Y-85 to the north.  Yendegaia National Park can also be reached via boat from Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world.

Yendegaia NP7

The birth story of the Yendagaia National Park begins with Alan Watson Featherstone—Scottish activist, forest advocate and Executive Director of Trees for Life, a leading organization recognized and awarded for their work in restoration and recovery of the Caledonian Forest—visiting the area south of Tierra del Fuego in late 1996. In 1998 he contacted Kris and Doug Tompkins to present a project proposal and opportunity to acquire the property, then a semi-abandoned cattle ranch. The same year Watson Featherstone, together with Argentinean conservationist from Ushuaia, Graciela Ramaciotti, and leading Chilean botanist, Adriana Hoffman, urged the Tompkins to visit the property, who immediately recognized its conservation importance. After several months of evaluation, The Conservation Land Trust, a foundation led by Doug Tompkins, along with fellow conservationists Peter Buckley and Ernst Beyeler, provided the funds to acquire Estancia Yendegaia.  The property was subsequently transferred to Fundación Yendegaia, a Chilean foundation.

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In March 2011, Douglas and Kristine Tompkins approached Chilean president Sebastian Piñera with a proposal to collaborate in strengthening the National System of Protected Areas (SNASPE).  The concept was to create several new national parks and expand others through donating private conservation land and upgrading certain National Reserves to National Park status. National Park status honors the national patrimony and represents the ultimate goal for conservation properties.  National parks offer the most secure guarantee of institutionalized protection, the most historic method of building national pride in conservation, and the strongest strategy for developing ecotourism and conservation-related development that bolsters local economies.

During 2011 and 2012, an ad hoc committee, spearheaded by Piñera and including representatives from the ministries of Environmental, Natural Resources, Economics, Tourism and the Forest Services, analyzed the proposal.  Early in 2013, the committee decided to prioritize the creation of Yendegaia National Park, due to its ecological attributes and excellent potential for ecotourism development.  After extensive mapping and surveying work and consultations with nearby indigenous communities, the Chilean government, led by Minister of the Environment Maria Ignacia Benitez, signed the new park into law on November 29, 2013.  On December 11, 2013, Piñera announced the news publicly.

Yendegaia NP5

Doug Tompkins reflected: “Yendegaia National Park is the result of a long-time team effort, and Kris and I are proud to have worked alongside a remarkable group of people, from visionary funders to dedicated Chilean conservationists. One of the original donors passed away some years ago, but I know he would be delighted today to hear the news.  Our whole team feels proud of this accomplishment, as does the team of the Presidency.  This is a historic moment—the creation of a new national park always is—and we hope that all Chilean share in this excitement. Lastly, we all must credit President Piñera for his commitment to this project, from the first discussions.  As a first-rate conservationist in his own right, with his remarkable Tantauco Park, Piñera might be the greatest conservationist-president in the world today, and we are grateful for this opportunity to work together.”

Hernan Mladinic, director of Fundación Yendegaia, commented, “As a board member and a Magellan, I am doubly proud of this achievement: the first creation of a new National Park in the Magallanes Region in 40 years.  When Yendegaia is up and running, it will offer a spectacular complement to Torres del Paine National Park. This new park will advance the region’s understanding that conservation is not an obstacle to development, but rather a basis for future prosperity.”

For Kris McDivitt Tompkins, Yendegaia is  “the best Christmas present ever, for us, and I hope for the Chilean people.  Creating a new national park is a complex process, but leaves an invaluable legacy for future generations. Chile has a long history of national parks: for almost a century, every president has created a national park.  Now Piñera joins this proud tradition, and we thank him for his support.”

Yendegaia NP8

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37,500-acre El Rincón donated to Expand Perito Moreno National Park

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.

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Publishing a park: Corcovado debuts in Santiago and Puerto Varas

Corcovado National Park is a 726,000-acre wilderness of shimmering lakes and snow-capped mountains anchored by the Corcovado volcano, often called “the Matterhorn of South America.” In 2005, Corcovado became Chile’s newest national park when then-president Ricardo Lagos inaugurated it, securing lasting protection for this marvelous landscape. Corcovado is a proud testament to the power of public-private collaboration: its creation was spurred by the largest-ever donation of private land to Chile’s national park system, which came jointly from American philanthropist Peter Buckley and the Conservation Land Trust.

Looking out over Corcovado Volcano

Two weeks ago, the Conservation Land Trust hosted two book launch events—one on the 6th of August in Puerto Varas, the other on 8th in Santiago.  Celebrating the publication of Corcovado served as an occasion to highlight the power of public-private conservation partnerships, discuss the enduring value of national parks, and generate enthusiasm for wilderness conservation in general.

Invitation to the event in Santiago

Santiago book launch

At the Santiago book launch, Doug Tompkins was joined by Carlos Cuevas, former director of Fundación Pumalín, former president Ricardo Lagos, and former commander in Chief Juan Emilio Cheyre.  Each of these men was instrumental to the completion of the Corcovado project, from Doug’s tenacious idea-building, to Lagos’ visionary leadership, to Cheyre’s reimagination of the value of public lands from a military standpoint.

Doug and former president Ricardo Lagos

Around two hundred members of the public were in attendance, including the United States Ambassador to Chile, environmental movement leaders, representatives from CONAF (the Chilean Parks’ Service) and the Aysén region, and members of the press.  Doug addressed the assembly with his excitement about the book launch, and also with some hopeful yet cautionary words about the importance of conservation: “there is enormous pressure on our ecosystems with the expansion of human development…. We must believe in national parks, and always remember the importance of wilderness protected areas for the defense of biodiversity.”

Doug addresses the audience

Corcovado National Park is a lush photo tour of Chile’s new coastal jewel, and a wonderful collection of stories narrating its creation.  Corcovado is heavy with page upon page of stunning landscapes and wildlife closeups from the park by photographer Antonio Vizcaíno.

Corcovado is not only a testament to the beauty of this nearly untouched wilderness, but also a monument to the dedicated, visionary people who worked from different angles to make this massive conservation effort a reality.  Accounts from the key players in the park’s foundation allow the reader to see the challenges and lasting value of large-scale conservation efforts.  Former president Ricardo Lagos believes the ongoing work of conservation will continue, for the betterment of Chile.  “This is a truly great challenge,” he writes, “to enjoy these fjords, bays, valleys, kales, forests, volcanoes, and mountains—to make them available for research, education, recreation and tourism—in a way that leaves them intact and healthy forever.”

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