Environment

In photos: World's largest land donation spawns spectacular new parks for Patagonia

In photos: World's largest lan...
Patagonia National Park, Chile
Patagonia National Park, Chile
View 69 Images
A huemel, or South American deer, in Patagonia National Park, Chile
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A huemel, or South American deer, in Patagonia National Park, Chile
Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Patagonia National Park, Chile
A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
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A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
A bridge in Patagonia National Park, Chile
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A bridge in Patagonia National Park, Chile
A guanaco at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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A guanaco at Patagonia National Park, Chile
Hikers traverse the landscape at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Hikers traverse the landscape at Patagonia National Park, Chile
Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
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An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Lodging at Patagonia National Park, Chile
A puma at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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A puma at Patagonia National Park, Chile
A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
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A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
Rest area at Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Rest area at Patagonia National Park, Chile
Patagonia National Park Chile
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Patagonia National Park Chile
An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
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An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
Patagonia National Park, Chile
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Patagonia National Park, Chile
A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
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A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
Pumalín National Park, Chile
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Pumalín National Park, Chile
An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
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An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
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A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
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An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
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A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parks for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition
Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Lodging at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Lodging at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Lodging at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Lodging at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Footbridge at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Footbridge at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Lodging at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Lodging at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Ranger's cabin at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Ranger's cabin at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Information center at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Information center at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Waterfall at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Waterfall at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Lodging at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Lodging at Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Pumalín National Park, Chilean Patagonia
An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
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An agreement signed today has seen millions of acres of new national parklands created in Chilean Patagonia
Frigid peaks at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Frigid peaks at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Frigid peaks at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Frigid peaks at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Frigid peaks at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Frigid peaks at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Lagoon at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Lagoon at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Autumn colors at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Autumn colors at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Autumn colors at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Autumn colors at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Lagoon at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Lagoon at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Autumn colors at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Autumn colors at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Corcovado National Park in Chilean Patagonia
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Corcovado National Park in Chilean Patagonia
Corcovado National Park in Chilean Patagonia
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Corcovado National Park in Chilean Patagonia
Corcovado National Park in Chilean Patagonia
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Corcovado National Park in Chilean Patagonia
Parque Nacional Hornopirén in Chilean Patagonia
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Parque Nacional Hornopirén in Chilean Patagonia
Parque Nacional Hornopirén in Chilean Patagonia
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Parque Nacional Hornopirén in Chilean Patagonia
Parque Nacional Hornopirén in Chilean Patagonia
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Parque Nacional Hornopirén in Chilean Patagonia
Isla Magdalena National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Isla Magdalena National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Isla Magdalena National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Isla Magdalena National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Isla Magdalena National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Isla Magdalena National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Rugged mountains of Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Rugged mountains of Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Rugged mountaintops in Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Rugged mountaintops in Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Rugged mountaintops in Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Rugged mountaintops in Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Rugged mountaintops in Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Rugged mountaintops in Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Alpine lagoons in Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Alpine lagoons in Kawésqar National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Melimoyu National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Melimoyu National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Melimoyu National Park, Chilean Patagonia
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Melimoyu National Park, Chilean Patagonia
View gallery - 69 images

A pledge made last year to forge millions of acres of new national parklands for Chilean Patagonia has come to fruition, with President Michelle Bachelet today formalizing the handover of what is described as the largest private land donation in history. It marks an important milestone for Kristine Tompkins, who together with her late husband Douglas Tompkins, has devoted decades to preserving the natural beauty of Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia.

As founders and former CEOs of outdoor apparel companies Patagonia and North Face, the pair left successful business careers behind and headed for Chile's deep south, where they worked to acquire land, restore the habitats and then pass them over to the state. Though Douglas passed away in 2015, their work continues through the Tompkins Conservation foundation.

The agreement was announced last March, and in all, will eventually see more than 10 million acres (4 million hectares), an area three times the size of Yellowstone and Yosemite combined, added to Chile's national parklands. This will eventually include a network of five new national parks stretching from Northern Patagonia to the continent's southern tip, along with the expansion of the parks already in place.

Lagoon at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia
Lagoon at Cerro Castillo National Park, Chilean Patagonia

The declaration signed today sees the creation of the Patagonia National Park and Pumalín National Park, both existing parks previously owned by Tompkins Conservation and already open to the public, but now in the hands of the state.

"I am proud of my husband Doug and his vision which continues to guide us, in addition to our entire team, for completing these two national parks and the broader network, a major milestone of our first 25 years of work," said Kristine Tompkins. "While we will continue to help promote and safeguard these parks, we are beginning to turn our attention to more new conservation and rewilding projects in Chile and Argentina as we work to save and restore big, wild and connected ecosystems."

Jump into our gallery to take a look at Chile's newest national parks and the rest of this spectacular natural wonderland.

Source: Tompkins Conservation

View gallery - 69 images
1 comment
chase
Boy that is some beautiful country side.
Thanks for sharing the story. Hats off to the Tompkins for what they've accomplished with his life and continues on with hers.
What a legacy to leave behind. Thank you to both of them. And all others that helped achieve this.
It opens up a lot of new area to film. It would be nice to fly through filming the landscape in 4k. Question is, has Chile made it a no fly zone as they have others?