Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the widow of US billionaire Doug Tompkins donated 408,000 hectares of land to the country and the Chilean government announced a massive conservation campaign.
Tompkins, one of the founders of the outdoor clothing brand The North Face was a keen conservationist. He bought up swathes of land in southern Chile and Argentina to preserve it. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see what happened. He died in a kayaking accident in Chile in 2015.
"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," she said.
Tompkins Conservation, the NGO set up by Mr. Tompkins and his wife described the pledge as “the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country.”
The donated land plus a further 949,000 hectares of land that the government agreed to protect will form part of a network of 17 national parks in Patagonia covering an area the size of Switzerland, reported the BBC.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said it was a “key step to reassuring this giant source of biodiversity and safe keep it in the public interest.”
The parks will stretch from the Chilean city of Puerto Montt down to Cape Horn some 2,000km to the south.
LatinAmerican Post | Maria Andrea Marquez