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Dear Friends,
 
Throughout this austral winter, sporadic snowstorms have covered the Chacabuco Valley with heavy flakes, silently blanketing the grasslands and copper rooftops of Patagonia Park. The landscape may be calm and quiet, but meanwhile our team is working like bees. There are still trails to be cleared, roads to be built, signs to be carved, and threatened species to monitor and protect. After the signing of the donation protocol in March, we are doubling down to complete all of the infrastructure projects that are necessary to create a world-class national park experience for all future visitors. We are proud to share that the Lodge at Valle Chacabuco has already appeared in travel magazines around the world, including the recent National Geographic piece, 21 Places to Stay if You Care About the Planet. Before we know it, it will be time to open the doors for another busy summer season. 

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A surprise snowstorm covers the grasslands of Patagonia Park, June 2017. Photo: Victor Alfonso-Jiav

Twenty-five years ago when we first started our work at Pumalín Park, few visitors came to this wild, wet, mountainous part of Chile. When we first arrived it was difficult to envision so many people making the trek to this remote part of southern Chile, yet here we are more than two decades later with more visitors than we could have imagined. In this last summer season, over 70,000 people made the trip by ferry, car, plane, and bicycle to hike the trails and stay in the campgrounds. The cabañas at Caleta Gonzalo recently received Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and dozens of rave reviews. Soon, Pumalín Park will be one of the first stops along Patagonia’s Route of Parks, a 1,500-mile stretch from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn that will connect 17 national parks along the Carretera Austral Southern Highway.

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The cabañas at Caleta Gonzalo face the fjord and are within walking distance of the restaurant and organic gardens.
Photo: Tompkins Conservation

Over in Argentina, when visitors stay at the Hosteria Rincón de Socorro they are contributing to our rewilding efforts, some of the most ambitious in the region.  With an influx of visitors and support, the rewilding team pushes forward on their important work to restore biodiversity to the wetlands of Corrientes. Flocks of native birds, families of capybaras, and the occasional rogue tapir come to nibble on the ivy are an ever-present reminder to Hosteria visitors of the importance of preserving the unique biodiversity of the region. 

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The Hosteria del Socorro in the heart of Iberá Park was built in 1896 as part of the original ranch. Now the building hosts visitors from around the world who wish to experience these wild wetlands first hand. Photo: Florian von der Fecht

At Tompkins Conservation we maintain that there is a way for humans and the rest of the natural world to flourish and succeed together. The establishment of an ecotourism-based economy around these new national parks is a vision my husband Doug dreamed up long ago. Our goal is not to stimulate tourist activity for its own sake, rather to help visitors appreciate wilderness and wildlife, and therefore support conservation efforts, and to help local communities to see conservation as a productive use of landscape that will help support vibrant regional economies.  
 
If you haven’t yet visited one of our world-class ecolodges, please visit tompkinsconservation.org/ecolodges to start planning your trip. We look forward to welcoming you to our favorite part of the world.

Warm regards,

Kris Tompkins


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Kristine McDivitt Tompkins is Awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, co-founder of Tompkins Conservation alongside her late husband Douglas Tompkins, has been awarded the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, bestowed by the Carnegie family of institutions. The medal seeks to inspire a culture of giving by reconizing outstanding philanthropists who reflect the values of Andrew Carnegie and his philosophy of giving--what he called the "business of benevolence." The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy was established in 2001 and is awarded every two years. Read more here.
     
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May 2017 Rewilding Iberá Newsletter: The Creation of Iberá National Park
Has Been Approved

Over the next three years all of CLT’s privately assembled conservation lands will be donated to the National Parks Authority, as the government is committed to approving the law for the establishment of Iberá National Park. One of the most notable results of this process is the generation of joint management agreements for the Iberá Park between the province of Corrientes, the national government, and CLT; this agreement includes our commitment to maintain the rewilding program at least until 2026, to ensure that the large Iberá Park will have viable populations of all animals that were previously extinguished in the region. With these advances in the last months, we ensure not only that Iberá will have a large park under public ownership and management, but also that it will have the array of native wildlife species that flourished here prior to European settlement. Read the full newsletter here.

     
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Staff Spotlight: Ignacio Jiménez Pérez, CLT Conservation Director

Ignacio came to CLT Argentina over ten years ago with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of wildlife conservation. Beginning his career with a degree in Animal Biology from the Universidad de Valencia in Spain, and a Masters in Wildlife Management and Conservation from the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica, Ignacio has gained decades of field research and management experience from around the world. From the study and management of manatees in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to the assessment of endangered species protection in Spain, Ignacio’s work to research, manage and restore wildlife has put him at the top of his field. Read more here. 

     
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Statement from Tompkins Conservation Regarding the Trump Administration's Announcement on the Paris Accord

The people of Tompkins Conservation, who are working in three countries on two continents, are appalled by the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw U.S. participation in the Paris agreement. While insufficient to address the climate crisis, the Paris accord is a useful first step toward bolder, binding action that moves human society toward a low-carbon energy future. Read more here.



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