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History of Valle Chacabuco

20th Century

Originally one of the region’s largest sheep ranches, Estancia Valle Chacabuco has changed hands many times over the past century, throughout which time the landscape has been overgrazed and degraded. British explorer Lucas Bridges established the area as ranchland in 1908, but through efforts by the Frei administration to redistribute wealth, the land was expropriated and divided between several local families in 1964. The land was later reclaimed once again, this time by the Pinochet administration, and then sold to Belgian landowner Francoise de Smet in 1980. After two decades of declining profits, de Smet decided to sell, and the Patagonia Project was born.


Conservacion Patagonica

When Kris and Doug Tompkins first visited the Valle Chacabuco Valley in 1995, CONAF (Chile’s National Forest Service) had long since recognized the need to prioritize the protection of these unique and biodiverse ecosystems. With help from the Tompkins and Conservacion Patagonica, the 170,500-acre Estancia Chacabuco was acquired. In subsequent years several other adjacent properties were purchased from willing sellers, bringing the currently total area of protected land to close to 200,000 acres., all purchased from willing sellers.


Looking Forward

Eventually, the 200,000 acres we have acquired from in the Chacabuco Valley will be combined with the Jeinimeni Reserve to the north and the Tamango Reserve to the south, combining joining together to become one large 640,000-acre Patagonia National Park. This combination will allow bi-national access across the border of Chile and Argentina and will open previously blocked wildlife corridors.


The future Patagonia National Park will anchor ecotourism and thoughtful resource use in the Aysen Region, promoting a model of development that embraces and protects the area's incredible natural character.

For more on the history of the Valle Chacabuco Valley please visit this blog post.


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