Stay informed about the latest reopening dates for national parks and their sanitary protocols for visiting via the official Conaf website
The Route of Parks is a vision for the conservation of Chilean Patagonia from Tompkins Conservation Chile. This scenic route runs 1,700 miles between Puerto Montt and Cape Horn, spanning 17 national parks. Protecting 28 million acres, it’s also an economic impulse for more than 60 surrounding communities to benefit from conservation.
The Route of Parks is a greenspace for Chile and the world. After the Amazon Basin, it has one of the highest rates of carbon storage in South America. It’s exceptional ecological value comes from the level of endemism and biodiversity of its temperate and subantarctic rainforests, wetlands, ice fields and the most extensive fjord system on the planet. These ecosystems which are highly intact with little human influence are a refuge for endangered species such as the huemul deer and the huillín, a native otter. They also act as important buffer zones to mitigate climate change and the species extinction crisis.
The Route of Park encompasses one-third of Chile, protecting the incomparable beauty of the end of the world. Today more than ever, we know that for human societies to flourish we need healthy ecosystems with their complexity of species, relationships, and processes. The Route of the Parks shows how reconnecting with nature and introducing development models harmonious with biodiversity can promote a healthy and vibrant environment for all communities of life on earth.
Protected National Park territory
The Route of Parks of Patagonia is a vision of Tompkins Conservation Chile, a nonprofit dedicated for nearly three decades to conserving the beauty and biodiversity of Chilean Patagonia. Through the creation of national parks, rewilding, ecological restoration, community outreach, activism and public education, we work to instill a culture of conservation which can help the world to regain its equilibrium, integrity and vitality.
To be recognized as the most important conservation route in the world, positioning the image of Chile as a destination for nature based tourism and inspiring communities to reconnect with their natural heritage as a fundamental part of their identity motivating them to work in harmony with biodiversity.
To protect and support the natural and cultural heritage of Chilean Patagonia and its 17 national parks, promoting local economic vitality through tourism as a consequence of conservation, and instilling the importance of the region as a massive greenspace for the planet in the face of the climate and biodiversity crises.
To position the region as the most beautiful scenic route in the world, a crucial area to protect for the resilience of the planet, to strengthen the image of Chile in the world as a leader in conservation, to generate an economy functioning in harmony with biodiversity, and to promote a conservation culture that promotes healthy, vibrant and beautiful environments for all communities of life.
The Route of Parks is a natural solution to confront the greatest loss of biodiversity in history. There are four pillars to this philosophy:
According to the scientific community, we need to maintain half of the planet in a natural state to avoid the extinction of a million species. The Route of the Parks protects 28 million acres, preventing the loss and degradation of these ecosystems, preserving complex ecological processes and natural dynamics to ensure ecosystem services for future generations
The Waldron report projects that the benefits of conserving at least 30% of the land and ocean could exceed the costs by a factor of at least 5 to 1. This represents a significant boost to small scale economies. In 2019, almost half a million people visited the national parks in the Route of Parks, while visits to protected areas in Chile have increased by more than 70% during the last decade.
The Route of Parks covers one-third of Chile, uniting three regions (Los Lagos, Aysén and Magallanes) and connecting the southern highway with the Patagonian Channels and the End of the World route. This holistic vision for Chilean Patagonia emphasizes the importance of conserving and restoring complete and connected ecosystems, from the sea to mountain ranges.
According to the Undersecretary of Tourism, 78% of international tourists who visit Chile are largely attracted by the country’s natural beauty. We want to continue strengthening the image of Chile as a top global nature destination and a leader in protecting valuable natural heritage, with a visionary commitment to conservation and building planetary resilience in the face of today’s climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems.
The creation of two new national parks, Corcovado in 2005, and Yendegaia in 2013, paved the way for the creation of the Route of Parks of Patagonia. In September 2014, the Yendegaia Foundation (now Tompkins Conservation Chile) presented the concept of the Route of Parks to the Chilean government in response to fears that conservation would remove land from production and detract from economic development. We see conservation as an investment, not an expense. We believe that conservation is not only an urgent action to counteract the crises of extinction of species and climate change, but it’s also an important alternative for economic development for communities surrounding the national parks.
In October 2015, Douglas Tompkins publicly launched his vision behind The Route of Parks at the ATTA summit in Chile’s Lakes District, proposing a comprehensive development strategy for Chilean Patagonia based on conservation. The opportunity was also an invitation to see national parks as engines of local economies, generating jobs and investments related to tourism, businesses, services, connectivity and transport while favoring the roots and identity of the surrounding communities.
In March 2017, Tompkins Conservation Chile agreed to make the largest donation of land from a private entity to a country worldwide. The Chilean government and Tompkins Conservation Chile signed an unprecedented public-private agreement protocol that gave definitive shape to this vision. Under the agreement, the government incorporated public lands and reclassified national reserves to create five new National Parks (Pumalín Douglas Tompkins, Melimoyu, Cerro Castillo, Patagonia and Kawésqar) and expand another three (Hornopirén, Corcovado and Isla Magdalena).
Finally, in January 2018, decrees were signed to finalize the donation of almost a million acres from Tompkins Conservation Chile, incorporating 2,4 million acres of public lands, and reclassifying almost 6,5 million acres of reserves as national parks, while adding over 10 million acres of protected areas. The new parks created in this collaborative public-private effort joined existing ones to create the concept of The Route of Patagonia: 28 million acres protected in 17 National Parks, equivalent to almost 3 times the size of Switzerland, and more than double the size of Costa Rica.
The route features more than 90% of land protected under the category of National Parks in Chile.
Spans more than 1700 miles, or 1/3 of Chilean national territory.
Protects 28 million acres of land in 17 National Parks.
Includes three regions
Features more than 60 local communities.
Species of birds
Features 46 species of marine and land mammals.
Protects 24 different ecosystems
Different types of native forests.
National Parks are the world’s oldest and most enduring conservation strategy. A “national park” has the highest category of protection for a geographic area and the strongest guarantee that an ecosystem will be cared for and preserved not only for today, but for generations to come. National parks play many different roles, including providing havens for biodiversity, helping to combat climate change, bolstering local economies, protecting natural and cultural heritage, and offering ideal spaces for recreation and scientific research.
National Parks are essential for maintaining the natural cycles and systems that nurture our planet’s diversity of life. They’re also democratic institutions with deep, transformative power. These spaces––open to everyone, equally––provide visitors with a beautiful, wild environment that encourages a deeper connection between nature and society. National parks show us how to foster rich, unfettered ecosystems, supported by a culture that deeply values biodiversity and natural life. They also provide a model for cultivating vibrant communities filled with people who understand the sense of belonging and local identity that only a profound connection with nature can provide.
National parks, in all their beauty, are a powerful reminder of the abundance that can be found in caring for the well-being of our planet––and the well-being the natural world offers to us in return.
Copyright 2018 Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia
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