Bernardo O'Higgins National Park (Chile)
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park protects a remote area of southern Chile. It is currently the country's largest protected area, covering a vast area within the Aysén and Magallanes and Antártica Chilena regions, including part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park protects a vast, remote area of southern Chile, including part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. It is currently the largest protected area in Chile, covering 3,525,901 ha (8,712,691 acres) in both the Aysén and Magallanes and Antártica Chilena regions.
The park is named after General Bernardo O'Higgins, the South American revolutionary leader and first head of state of the Republic of Chile, who commanded the military forces that won independence from Spain. The area was given National Park status by successive decrees from 1959 through 1975.
Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina) and Torres del Paine National Park are its neighbors to the east. Laguna San Rafael National Park is located to the north, the Alacalufes National Reserve to the southwest, and the Katalalixar National Reserve to the northwest.
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park and Torres del Paine National Park occupy over 90% of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field; the remainder of it, across the border in Argentina, is included within Los Glaciares National Park.
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park and Torres del Paine National Park are part of the UNESCO Tentative List of Sites for inclusion into the World Heritage List.
The Pío XI glacier is the largest in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica, covering an area of 1,265 sq km (488 sq mi). The ice face of the glacier is approximately 75 m (246 ft) in height. Other glaciers include Balmaceda, Serrano, Chico, O'Higgins, Jorge Montt, Bernardo, Témpano, Occidental, Greve, Penguin and Amalia.
The highest summit is the Lautaro volcano at 3,607 m (11,834 ft). Other summits include Mount Fitz Roy, the Cerro Torre, and the Cerro Riso Patrón.
Route of Parks
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park is part of Chile's scenic 2,800 km (1,700 mi) "Route of Parks of Patagonia" that stretches from Puerto Montt in the north to Cape Horn in the south.
Spanning 17 national parks, the Route of Parks of Patagonia encompasses one-third of Chile and protects over 11.8 million hectares (28 million acres).
Chile's Route of Parks map - Thompson Conservation
Flora and Fauna
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park is part of the Magellanic subpolar forests ecoregion. Forest tree species include Nothofagus betuloides, Nothofagus pumilio, Nothofagus Antarctica, and Drimys winteri.
The park is one of the last refuges for the Chilean huemul. In addition, species such as the Andean condor, marine otter, and cormorant can be found here.