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.
There are many good reasons to visit Pumalín National Park and hike its trails. Here are a few:
– Scenic beauty: The park is home to a wide variety of landscapes, including old-growth forests, waterfalls, lakes, and fjords. The park’s trails offer beautiful views of these natural wonders, making it a great destination for photography and nature lovers.
– Biodiversity: Pumalín National Park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including many that are endangered or threatened. By visiting the park and hiking its trails, you can get an up-close look at these amazing species and learn about their unique characteristics and habitats.
– Physical activity: Hiking the trails in Pumalín National Park is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. The park has trails of varying difficulty, so you can choose a route that matches your fitness level.
– Support the local community: traveling and exploring Pumalín National Park is a great way to support the local economy and to promote responsible tourism. By visiting the park and participating in activities such as hiking and camping, you can help to generate revenue for the local community and support the conservation efforts of the park.
Overall, visiting Pumalín National Park and hiking its trails is a great way to experience the beauty and diversity of the natural world, learn about different cultures, and get some exercise.
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