As you read this, I will be winging my way to Santiago, Chile. I will stop for a night in my favorite hacienda, Casa Real in the Santa Rita vineyards, for a chance to do some mountain biking and have a great dinner and glass of special Carmenere wine. The next day I go on to a new National Park in Patagonia called Patagonia National Park.
The great adventurers, Douglas and Kris Thompkins (founders of Northface and Esprit clothing) bought large chunks of land all over South America to preserve and protect the natural ecosystems there. In an unfortunate kayaking accident several years ago, Mr. Thompkins died. His wife kept on and created Conservation Patagonica to protect huge areas of land in both Chile and Argentina, to “rewild” areas that were being threatened by overgrazing and overpopulation. Working with Chilean Park Service, and many volunteers, they purchased 174,500 acres and took down fences, built campgrounds and a visitor center with a restaurant. In the park are all kinds of wild things like guanacos, pumas, condors and many threatened deer populations.
Patagonia National Park now encompasses more than 10 million acres. It is 3 times larger that Yellowstone National Park or Yosemite here in the US.
I am truly excited to become one of the newest visitors to the park and look forward to sharing the beautiful vistas and adventures. We need to protect these wild places for future visitors!