Douglas Tompkins walked, in 1989, under the millenary alerce trees that the current Pumalín National Park houses. At that time, these Patagonian lands belonged to various ranchers who acquired the territory in the 1920s and had abandoned them or used them for livestock and timber harvest.
Douglas, along with his partner Kristine Tompkins, understood the importance of local biodiversity and since 1991 they began to acquire thousands of hectares in order to conserve and protect them, transforming the territory into a Nature Sanctuary in 2005.
For many years, the Tompkins Conservation Foundation – today Rewilding Chile – worked to acquire territories in Patagonia with the dream of donating them to the Chilean National Park System.
Despite the enormous controversies and suspicions generated by this project, in 2018, the largest donation of land from a private person to a State in the history of humanity was made, delivering 403 thousand hectares in various areas of Patagonia. Thus the Pumalín National Park was born.
Pumalín means “place of water”, coming from the huilliche (Pu: place / malín: mallín, flooded area). The unique ecosystem that this park houses is made up of temperate rainforests – also locally called Valdivian jungle – in a geography interrupted by fjords and volcanoes, which was kept isolated by ice during thousands of years that the last ice age lasted, generating high levels of endemisms in the area (species found only in this place).
The park’s forests include 25% of the ancient Alerce trees that still survive in Chile and it is the habitat of multiple species in conservation categories.
If you want to know more