Guest post: from Kristie at Elevate Destinations

We’ll be mixing in other voices on this blog, to share some more impressions from this future park.  Below is a posting from Kristie Gianetto, who works at Elevate Destinations, a company dedicated to responsive travel:

Kristie exchanges goodbyes with park guard Daniel Velasquez

I recently had the incredible opportunity to travel down to Chilean Patagonia to experience the immense efforts that Conservacion Patagonica is undertaking to create the Future Patagonia National Park. Conservacion Patagonica has been around since 2000 and has since protected over 460,000 acres of Patagonian land with the goal of creating a national park in the Aysen Region of Chile. Patagonia National Park will be a refuge for indigenous wildlife as well as an educational canvas for people to come and learn about this unique region of the earth. It will also benefit the local communities and surrounding areas through its ecotourism and responsible travel appeal.

While there, I visited a different area in the park each day, exploring many of the different habitats that the park protects. I spent time on neighboring ranches and listened to the stories of people who have lived in this remote, extreme environment their entire lives. The dedication to wilderness and wildlife among the staff and local community members is tangible. From their puma and huemul deer tracking programs to their grassland restoration projects, Conservacion Patagonica is doing everything that it can to return this once pristine natural habitat to the bountiful and species-rich grasslands that existed here pre-ranching.

One of the main issues looming over this region  is the proposed $4 billion hydroelectric project that Endesa (a Spanish electricity company) has planned for the near future. Imagine a series of dams spread across the river you see in the picture below and you will begin to envision the destruction that this could have on this natural wonder. There is a grassroots campaign throughout Chile opposing this project called Sin Represas. They are trying desperately to end this threat, but are finding it hard to garner the support needed to stop a large foreign company.

The spectacular Baker River, which HydroAysen proposes to dam

Despite this, Conservacion Patagonica pushes on with the support of volunteers, staff and locals to continue to protect and rehabilitate this amazing place. If you want to learn more about Conservacion Patagonica, the Sin Represas campaign, or the region in general, visit http://www.conservacionpatagonica.org . To get in touch with Elevate Destinations, email info@elevatedestinations.com.

Thanks to Kristie for letting us share this!


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