Pumalín Park

Pumalín's History

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"The Making of Parklands"
Pumalín Park–Chile
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The Pumalín Project began in 1991, when Californian Douglas Tompkins acquired the 42,000-acre Reñihué Farm to protect its primeval native temperate rainforest, at risk for logging. Doug first visited Chile in 1961, and returned regularly to climb, ski, kayak, and hike throughout the southern region. After years in business—as the founder of The North Face and co-founder of Espirit—he sought to contribute toward protecting the Earth's last remaining wilderness and combatting the global extinction crisis (read more on our conservation ethic here). Vast, remote, but facing numerous ecological threats, south Chile offered major opportunities for large-scale conservation.

The vision for Pumalín Park soon grew to encompass a much larger protected area, with full public access. Between 1991 and 1998, The Conservation Land Trust, the foundation Doug created, acquired close to 700,000 additional acres, 98% from absentee landowners. To encourage Chileans and citizens of the world to experience these unique and spectacular landscapes, CLT developed a network of cabins, campgrounds, trails, information centers, and other public facilities.

On August 19, 2005, then-President Ricardo Lagos designated Pumalín Park as a Nature Sanctuary in Chile, granting it additional protections to secure its ecological values and prevent development. The Conservation Land Trust later donated the protected lands to Fundacion Pumalín, a Chilean foundation, for their administration and ongoing preservation as a public park under private initiative.

 

Former Chilean President Lagos at the park

Part of the park's team

While nature-related philanthropy has a long tradition globally, large-scale private land acquisition for conservation was unfamiliar in Chile, and initially generated skepticism and political opposition. Over the past few decades, awareness and support for the initiative has grown, as thousands of visitors a year gained a first-hand understanding of the park and shared these experiences.

In the years ahead, the Pumalín Project will continue to provide a place for Chileans and international visitors alike to develop a heightened awareness of nature's magic and beauty, which may lead them to take action to protect and respect the natural systems on which we all depend. Moreover, the park aims to serve as a model for other private conservation efforts, on all scales throughout the world.

 

A visitor experiencing the pristine nature of Pumalín

Park Guard Station in El Amarillo

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