Wednesday the 15th of March marks a day of history for Tompkins Conservation, following a pledge between the President of Chile and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins. The signing states to dramatically expand the areas national parklands by approx. 11 million acres, the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country.

Once fully implemented, Chile will receive five new national parks – including the Tompkins Conservation pride and joy, Pumalín Park and Patagonia Park, along with the 1 million acres and world-class infrastructure they contain. Three other parks will also be expanded under the agreement, in a strong effort to deepen the Chilean tradition and sentiment towards conservation.

President Bachelet gave a speech expressing, “Today, alongside Kris, I am honoured to see how everything has come together… We are bequeathing to the country the greatest creation of protected areas in our history.”

The signing of this pledge will actively help to create the ‘Route of Parks’, a 17 park network covering more than 1,500 miles from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn. The Route will provide protection and growth for Patagonia’s wilderness and breathtaking views, whilst in turn generate a colossal boost in economic development towards ecotourism and employment.

Kris Tompkins and Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet sign historic pledge

Kris Tompkins and Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet sign historic pledge

To offer their continuous support and commitment to the government for this aspiring endeavour, Tompkins Conservation is creating a Chilean-based Friends of National Parks Foundation. A foundation set up to build strength and relations within the community, and allow for the people of Chile to thoroughly enjoy this step towards making a better future together.

In a powerful speech, Kris Tompkins stated, “I wish my husband Doug, whose vision inspired today’s historic pledge, were here on this memorable day. Our team and I feel his absence deeply,” Kristine Tompkins said. “But I know that if Doug were here today, he would speak of national parks being one of the greatest expressions of democracy that a country can realise, preserving the masterpieces of a nation for all of its citizenry.”

Kris, along with her husband Douglas Tompkins embarked on an inspiring and ambitious venture together to devote their funds, passionate values and time towards fighting the biggest crisis facing the world today, biodiversity loss. The couple both came from hugely successful backgrounds in corporate retailing, to transition their lives and focus on a cause much closer to their beliefs- restoring the world’s natural beauty. Along with representing the ‘gold standard’ of biodiversity conservation and this new signing of a pledge, it was with huge admiration and congratulations to say we believe they are definitely achieving their goals.

You can read more about the life of Douglas Tompkins, his marriage to Kris and their devotion to conservation here.

Pumalín Park, Hualaihué, X Región, Chile