Chile will have new and expanded national parks this year thanks to Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, wife of the famous conservationist Douglas Tompkins, who donated about one million acres of land and the country's government with President Michelle Bachelet of 10 million acres of federally-owned acreage.
Under the donation agreement, Chile will have five national parks and three scenery extensions about thrice the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks when combined.
Among the five new national parks is the rainforest trail of Pumalín Park which is considered as one of the largest and most diverse conservation efforts in South America revived by Tompkins's late husband, Doug. Another one is Melimoyu, where the park is nearer to coastal areas full of canals, fjords, and a volcano. The third would be the grassland and mountainous Patagonia Park by the Chacabuco Valley.
Two Chilean reservoirs will be designated as national parks in the near future as well. Travel and Leisure reported that the Cerro Castillo Reserve and Alacalufe Reserve will also be reclassified to the national park status. Meanwhile, the Hornopirén National Park, Corcovado National Park, and Isla Magdalena National Park will be expanding land reach.
President Bachelet said in a press release, "Today, alongside Kris, I am honored to see how everything has come together. ... We are bequeathing to the country the greatest creation of protected areas in our history." The proposal will also see to a new "Route of Parks," which includes 17 national parks of the country for nature lovers to trek and visit.
The park improvements are expected to generate US$270 million worth of annual income and will be employing about 43,000 locals with its eco-tourism state. Activities like hiking and mountaineering will drive tourists to the country.
The late Douglas Tompkins was an American conservationist and philanthropist who devoted his life to preserving biodiversity. The husband and wife team bought and conserved more than 2 million acres of land which made them one of largest private land-owners and donors in the world.