Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park

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Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park
Lago Negro aérea - panoramio - Sam Beebe-Ecotrust.jpg
Lago Negro, Pumalín
Map showing the location of Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park
Map showing the location of Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park
LocationLos Lagos Region, Chile
Nearest cityHualaihué
Coordinates42°35′04″S 72°29′46″W / 42.58444°S 72.49611°W / -42.58444; -72.49611Coordinates: 42°35′04″S 72°29′46″W / 42.58444°S 72.49611°W / -42.58444; -72.49611
Area4046 km2
Governing bodyCorporación Nacional Forestal
The fjords and temperate rainforest of Pumalín Park
Virgin temperate rainforest in Pumalín Park
Pumalín Park is situated on the upper right corner of the map

Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park (Spanish: Parque nacional Pumalín Douglas Tompkins)[1] is a 400,000-hectare (1,000,000-acre)[2] national park in the Palena Province of Chile, created by the United States environmental foundation The Conservation Land Trust (now called "Tompkins Conservation"), which was endowed and led by the American business magnate Doug Tompkins and his wife Kris Tompkins. Designated a Nature Sanctuary in 2005, Pumalín was Chile's largest private nature reserve and operated as a public-access park, with an extensive infrastructure of trails, campgrounds, and visitor centers.[3] By an accord announced on 18 March 2017, the park was gifted to the Chilean state and consolidated with another 4,000,000 ha (10,000,000 acres) to become part of South America's largest national park.[4]

The park consists of two areas, and there seems to be some interest of the park owners to purchase the intermediate 340 square kilometres (130 sq mi) of the San Ignacio del Huinay Foundation as well. Opposed to this acquisition are mainly the thirty or so [5] inhabitants of the hamlet Huinay, located at the coast of the aimed area. The northern portion of the park borders Hornopirén National Park.


In 1991, Doug Tompkins bought a large, semi-abandoned plot of land in the Reñihue River Valley of the Chilean province of Palena. A mountaineer and conservationist who had been visiting Patagonia since the early 1960s, Tompkins sought to protect the 17,000-hectare (42,000-acre) tract, most of which was primeval Valdivian temperate rainforest, from future exploitation. After moving to Reñihué to live full-time, Tompkins began developing plans for a larger park, gradually acquiring additional adjacent properties from willing sellers. Ultimately, roughly 98 percent of the park's land area was bought from absentee landowners.

The Conservation Land Trust subsequently added approximately 280,000 hectares (690,000 acres) in nearly contiguous parcels to form Pumalín Park, which was declared a Nature Sanctuary on August 19, 2005, by then-president Ricardo Lagos. This special designation by the Chilean government grants the land additional protections to secure its ecological values and prevent development. The Conservation Land Trust later donated the protected lands to Fundación Pumalín, a Chilean foundation, for their administration and ongoing preservation as a national park under private initiative.

While nature-related philanthropy has a long tradition in the United States, large-scale private land acquisition for parks was unfamiliar in Chile, and initially generated skepticism and political opposition. Over the years of the project’s development, confidence has been built, both locally and nationally, as Pumalín Park’s public access infrastructure began serving thousands of visitors annually.[6]


One of Tompkins' central commitments is to preserving biodiversity; the Pumalín conservation area not only provides visitors a spectacular wilderness experience, but also protects the area's threatened ecosystem and species. Although Chile lacks the faunal diversity of Amazon-area countries, it is rich in flora, with many endemic species and subspecies. The evergreen broadleaved forest, known in Chile as the Valdivian temperate rainforest, includes thousands of plant species. The annual rainfall in the coastal forests of Pumalín Park is approximately 6,000 mm (236 in). These exceptionally wet, original forests reach all the way to the ocean, something that is increasingly rare worldwide. In addition, the park protects some of the last remaining stands of Alerce trees, one of the oldest species on Earth.

The Park and the Local Economy[edit]

A ranger system, utilizing non-uniformed park rangers on the agricultural lands adjacent to the Nature Sanctuary, contributes to the park’s stewardship. Small organic farms with activities such as animal husbandry, cheesemaking, ecotourism, wool handicrafts, and honey production function simultaneously as park ranger stations and visitor information centers. In this way both conservation and a contribution to the local economy are achieved. The project is aware of the need to include neighbors of the park, to create a broad-based cultural appreciation for wilderness and biodiversity conservation, as well as demonstrating how an agrarian economy, carefully matched to local conditions, can help sustain biodiversity and create economic opportunity.

Visiting Pumalín[edit]

One of the biggest ecotourist attractions of south Chile, Pumalín is accessible by car or boat. Caleta Gonzalo, at the center of the Park, in the Reñihué Fjord, houses the park's main tourist infrastructure, including a restaurant, visitor center, cabañas (cabins), and a campground. Ferries run from the village of Hornopirén to Caleta Gonzalo during the summer months.[7]

After the 2008 eruption of the Chaitén Volcano, the park was temporarily closed to visitors; it reopened to visitors in December 2010.[8]


  1. ^ Parque Nacional Pumalín Douglas Tompkins. Corporación Nacional Forestal de Chile (CONAF). Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-08-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2013-12-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Franklin, Jonathan (19 March 2017). "Chile's new 'route of parks' aims to save the wild beauty of Patagonia". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2009-08-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-14. Retrieved 2010-02-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2013-12-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Home". parquepumalin.cl.

External links[edit]