The wife of the late Doug Thompkins, one of the founders of the outdoor clothing retailer Northface, has donated 408,000 hectacres of private land to the Chilean state to form a part of a new National Park network in Patagonia. All told, the park will protect an area the size of Switzerland of breathtaking mountains and rivers, and windswept valleys.
For its part, the Chilean government will contribute nearly 9 million acres of federal land.
The gift is the culmination of Doug Thompkins efforts to purchase private land in Chilean Patagonia in an effort to conserve threatened species such as the puma, huemel deer, Darwin’s rhea, and other Andean species. Doug Thompkins died in a kayaking accident in 2015.
The Thompkins purchase and preservation of Patagonian wilderness has been controversial in Chile over the years. It is hoped that the investment in the public national park infrastructure will attract further private investment catering to the tourism industry, including world-class fishing, trekking and camping, the coastal cruise ship trips, and more.