Kristine Tompkins, widow of famous conservationist Doug Tompkins, has offered to donate almost 100,000 hectares of land to the Chilean government. The area, close to Punta Arenas, is to become a new national park. It is yet another gift from what seems to be the guardian family of Chile’s nature.
On Mar. 1, President Gabriel Boric welcomed American conservationist Kristine Tompkins to La Moneda Palace. She is the widow of Douglas Tompkins, the founder of The North Face and known for his conservationist philanthropy.
The President’s Office announced that Tompkins presented “a proposal to donate a 93,492-hectare piece of land for the creation of a new National Park.” The terrain is situated in the town of Cabo Froward, south of Punta Arenas. It would mean another park in the Magallanes Region, next to the already existing Parques Nacional de Cabo de Hornos, Alberto de Agostini, Yendegaia, Kawésqar, Pali Aike, Bernardo O’Higgins and Torres del Paine.
In her proposal, Tompkins also suggested that Chile promote the rezoning, or changing the designated purpose, of national assets around Cabo Froward and Río Batchelor, as reported by local media.
The @gobiernodechile has accepted a donation of land from @TompkinsRewild & @RewildingChile for the creation of a national park in Cape Froward! I am so proud of everyone who worked on this effort and to the leadership of the Chilean government & president, @GabrielBoric pic.twitter.com/Mr93X8qwll
— Kristine Tompkins (@KrisTompkins_) March 1, 2023
Boric openly thanked Tompkins for the “generous donation proposal of the Foundation,” and stated that it is an important step in protecting regional biodiversity and in addressing the climate crisis. He also mentioned the possibility of adding the new park to an already existing marine protected area in the surrounding area, thereby highlighting the government’s efforts to increase cooperation between state, private companies, and civil society in the area of conservation.
Tompkins and her deceased husband have a long history of conservationist efforts, especially in Chile and Argentina. Doug Tompkins began acquiring plots of lands in the Chilean Los Lagos region, with the purpose of turning them into protected areas. Over the years, the couple managed to acquire the world’s largest private nature reserve. In 2018, the Tompkins Conservation foundation gifted the Chilean government 1 million acres of land, and by doing so created five new national parks. To this day, it is the largest donation of private land in history. Due to his work expanding Chile’s nature and protecting its biodiversity, Doug Tompkins was posthumously naturalized as a Chilean citizen.
Matthijs is a newly graduated journalism student from Groningen, the Netherlands. As a starting journalist and aspiring foreign correspondent, he decided to extend his 6-month university exchange in Chile to do an internship at Chile Today. He enjoys writing about a broad range of topics, but international relations, politics and conflicts are his key interests.