Conservacion Patagonica IDIOMA: ESPAÑOL

Culture and Economy based on Conservation

National parks create immense value for people, nation, and nature—value that extends far beyond the boundaries of the protected area. As the recent PBS series "The National Parks" states, parks "protect the most special places in the nation, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone." In creating celebrated and beloved areas where people from all walks of life can experience nature, national parks become a physical focal point for the national conversation about natural resources and the environment. As parks provide a forum for nature to inspire and reinvigorate people, they represent a birthplace and incubation space for environmentalism.

One of the most spectacular places in the world, Patagonia is blessed with dramatic mountains, expansive grasslands, stunningly turquoise rivers, abundant herds of wildlife—and international name recognition as one of the world's natural treasures. If any place can sell itself on its wildness and beauty, it's Patagonia.

Tourist kayaking at the future park

Horsepacking trips within and around the park are
one of the outdoor activities available to visitors

To the south of the future Patagonia National Park, the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina have attracted millions of visitors from around the world. As these travelers flock to the region to hike, climb, raft, and watch wildlife, they generate substantial revenue for the nearby communities. Tourists may focus their trips in the park, but they spend much of their time exploring areas near to, but outside of, the park. Mayors and other community leaders often comment on the immense value produced by these beloved parklands.

The Aysen Region of Chile, however, lacks an iconic national park that serves as a draw for national and international travelers. Right now, few people interested in experiencing Patagonia come to the region. However, the future Patagonia National Park aims to change that. Through developing first-rate park infrastructure, Conservacion Patagonica is granting access to this region of spectacular natural beauty, so that visitors can easily appreciate its wild landscape and impressive biodiversity.

Conservacion Patagonica envisions that visitors will spend some of their time hiking and camping in the park and some of their time exploring nearby attractions. As visitors take boat trips to the Marble Caverns on Lake General Carrera, raft the Baker and Cochrane Rivers, fly fish in the numerous streams of the region, and horseback ride to small mountain puestos, they will support local guides and adventure travel businesses. We deliberately limited the size of the lodge within the park so that future visitors will stay at hosterias and lodges in the surrounding communities, which will help build these businesses.

We host the annual Ruta de Huemul, a two-day
community hike to raise awareness
for the endangered deer

Park guards, all former gauchos, survey
the landscape as part of a wildlife census

Collaboration with local entrepreneurs helps ensure that the economic benefits of the park go to its neighbors and community. We're working with the town of Cochrane, the closest community to the park, as well as other towns in the area, to help plan for this economic future. As the park moves closer to completion, we'll ramp up our engagement on this front.

Meanwhile, in addition to generating a market for local tourist operations, the park directly provides jobs and job training to numerous people from the region. As part of the Chacabuco Valley's transition from sheep ranch to park, those formerly working as gauchos now serve as park guards and wildlife trackers. Conservacion Patagonica has provided training and support throughout this process, and continues to assist local workers hone their skills as conservation professionals.

The shift towards a conservation-oriented economy will allow the rich culture of Patagonia to flourish in the Aysen region. Industrial development such as the construction of megadams brings with it the importation of hundreds of temporary workers. Conservation jobs, by contrast, will allow local people to remain in the region even as the livestock economy declines. Part of the park's educational focus centers on bringing the history and culture of the region to life. To celebrate the colorful traditions, the future park hosts community gathering such as hikes, festivals, and asados, the Patagonian version of a barbeque. Sponsoring more of these events in the future will allow the new park to remain closely tied to the rich history and culture of the region.

Learn more

Environmental Education at Escuela Valle Chacabuco
(7/28/15) Escuela Valle Chacabuco, the on-site school for the children of year-round Patagonia Park employees, has the unique opportunity to inspire a love of the wild places that exist just outside its doors.
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Fiestas Patrias in the Future Patagonia National Park
(10/28/13) In Chile, September is no ordinary month; it’s a time to celebrate the country’s independence, play traditional games, dance the cueca, and enjoy a sheep asado.
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