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Philanthropist creates vast national parks in Chile
By Jinny Throup
Thanks to the largest private land donation in history, a sparsely-populated area in South America, known for its untouched landscape and beautiful national parks, will continue to be preserved. Over 400,000 hectares were donated to the Chilean government by a philanthropic American couple - the late Doug Tompkins (founder of The North Face clothing and equipment line) and his widow Kristine. The couple had spent the past 25 years acquiring this land in Patagonia with the goal of preserving it. In 2015 Doug died in a tragic kayaking accident, and since that time Kristine has been working with the Chilean government to donate the land in a way that will guarantee its preservation.
This extraordinary gift allows for a major expansion of the National Park system’s efforts to preserve the rainforests and grasslands in the area. Chile hopes to link all of the country’s seventeen national parks into a 2,400 kilometre tourist passageway which could create more than 40,000 job opportunities. Whilst continuing to help promote and safeguard these parks, Kristine also aims to keep her husband’s vision alive by supporting other projects. She is involved with several conservation and re-wilding organizations in Chile and Argentina that are working to restore large eco-systems.