11 Million Acres of Park Created in Chile
National parkland in Chile increased by government
What's going on here?
The Tompkins Foundation and the Chilean government combined forces to expand national parkland in Chile by over 11 million acres (4.45 million hectares).
What does it mean?
The Tompkins Foundation was set up by Kristine McDivitt Tompkins (former CEO of Patagonia clothing) and her late husband Doug McDivitt (co-founder of North Face and Espirit).
During the 1990's, the Tompkins Foundation bought up huge areas of land (almost 1 million acres) in Patagonia to protect it from development, which annoyed the Chilean government. The new agreement sees the government (backed by President Michelle Bachelet) agree to expand the protected national parks by another 10 million acres, bringing to total to 11 million acres across Chile (larger than Denmark).
Why should I care?
The agreement created will form 5 new national parks in Chile, spanning the whole length of the country, which will be known as the Route of Parks. The climate in Chile is incredibly diverse, from warm desert to ice-tundra and warm temperate conditions.
Chile would be close to Costa Rica, in regards to percentage of protected lands across the country. Providing more space for rare animals such as Pudu Deer, Chilla Fox and Andean Condor, to thrive.
"No other human [Doug McDivitt] has ever created this many acres of protected wildlands through private philanthropy and he did not do it with the stroke of a pen" - Yvon Choulnard, Founder of Patagonia Clothing
The BIGGER picture
Ecotourism is expected to bring in over $270 million as well as create 43,000 more jobs across the area. By securing more private land as national parks, countries help both the environment as well as increasing ecotourism and job opportunities. This level of capital injection into a countries economy makes it an attractive possibility for others to hopefully follow suit.
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