Parque Pumalín: learn more about the environmental preservation project | Southern Carretera
After a long wait and trying to recover our recorded vlogs at the end of last year and beginning of 2017 in Chile, Paulo and I managed to show a little bit of the Carretera Austral region in Chilean Patagonia – click here to watch the full playlist! For those who still don’t know, much of the material we recorded there was lost. One of our hard drives fell (and broke) and we were unable to recover several videos and photos from the trip. In order not to leave anyone without content about this amazing place, we decided to share a little more of what we did there, but unfortunately it was not for the channel. Starting this series of posts about the Chilean Patagonia, today we will tell you more about Parque Pumalín and our wonderful walk through the Sendero los Alerces.
First of all, the place is much more than a simple park. In addition to the stunning landscapes, the history of this project surprises anyone. After several leisure trips to the south of Chile, The North Face founder Douglas Tompkins purchased 17,000 hectares of land in the region and started the Pumalin Project in 1991. From the beginning, the project’s main objective is to preserve the local fauna and flora. Despite starting with a large protection area, the park has grown a lot over the years. To give you an idea, in 2005, when the park was already almost 290,000 hectares, it was considered a Nature Sanctuary.
Photo – Pumalin Park
Today, the park has 12 trails, but because of the tight weather we only managed to get to know one: Sendero los Alerces. Alerces are some of the oldest trees in the world, we saw some that are almost 3 thousand years old, and that is why the Pumalín preservation area is extremely necessary. These trees are typical of this region of Chile and a part of Argentina and, because they have impervious wood, over the last centuries and decades the forests of Alerces have been very devastated.
Photo – Mapio.net
The trail is less than 1 km and is very quiet. In addition, the main trees have signs with information about the species and its history. For those without a guide, the trail starts at kilometer 12.5 south of Caleta Gonzalo (Carretera Austral) – follow the link on Google Maps.
Photo – Mapio.net
If you are also curious like us, we still have more information about Pumalín! Over the years, Tompkins and his wife bought some farms that surrounded the park as another way to protect the place. In addition to recovering the lands, which were destroyed in the previous decades, the project was responsible for creating a chain of organic and self-sustainable farms. Today, Pumalín’s farms have as main activities the raising of sheep and cattle, the production of honey from the native forest (Pillan Organics brand) and the planting of fruits and vegetables for local consumption. Incredible, right?