Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park is in Chile's Los Lagos region, boasting magnificent coastlines, waterfalls, fjords, and volcanoes. The Michinmahuida and Chaitén volcanoes tower over the landscape. However, the park's most notable feature is the threatened Alerce tree.
Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park
Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park is a protected area in the Palena Province of Chile, in the Los Lagos Region.
The area is also called Continental Chiloe or Northern Patagonia. Geographers consider the Palena Province the starting point of Chilean Patagonia, which extends south from Palena to Tierra del Fuego.
The Michinmahuida and Chaitén volcanoes tower over the landscape of the National Park. The deep forests reach the fjords, creating spectacular coastlines. Many waterfalls cascade down from glaciers, falling over steep granite walls.
The park's most notable feature is the threatened Alerce (Fitzroya) tree. Twenty-five percent of Chile's remaining Alerces are in the Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park.
The park was created by the environmental foundation, The Conservation Land Trust, endowed and led by the American business magnate Douglas Tompkins.
Designated as a Nature Sanctuary in 2005, Pumalín was Chile's largest private nature reserve and operated as a public access park, with an extensive infrastructure of trails, campgrounds, and visitor centers. By an accord announced in March 2017, the protected area was gifted to the Chilean state.
Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park stems from an agreement signed between the Chilean government and Tompkins Conservation in 2018. It establishes the creation of five new national parks:
Kawésqar National Park (an extension of the Alacalufes National Reserve)
Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park
And the extension of three others:
As of April 30, 2019, Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park is managed entirely by the National Forest Corporation (CONAF). CONAF is a private Chilean non-profit organization through which the Chilean state contributes to the development and sustainable management of the country's forest resources. CONAF is overseen and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile.
Route of Parks
Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park is part of Chile's scenic 2,800 km (1,700 mi) "Route of Parks" 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
Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park is rich in flora, with many endemic species and subspecies. The evergreen broad-leaved forest, known in Chile as the Valdivian temperate rainforest, includes thousands of plant species.
The annual rainfall in the coastal forests of the Pumalín National Park is approximately 6,000 mm (236 in). These exceptionally wet, original forests reach the ocean.
Pumalín's forests feature a large number of endemic species and unique subspecies. Highlights include the Alerce, Luma, Tepa, Canelo, Tineo, Tiaca, Coigüe, Ulmo, Olivo, Mañío, and Notro trees. Notably, the park protects some of the last remaining stands of Alerce trees, one of the oldest species on Earth.
Fauna in the park includes Toninas (Commerson's Dolphins), Cormorants, Penguins, Herons, and Kingfisher. The forests are also home to birds such as the Chucao, the Hued Hued, and the Rayadito.
Mammals include the Pudú Deer, Foxes, the Colocolo Cat, the Puma, and the only Chilean marsupial, the Monito del Monte (Colocolo Opossum).
The parklands are the ancestral territory of the Chono people, a nomadic people that navigated the islands and channels in their canoes, moving between the south of Chiloé and the Taitao Peninsula. They hunted sea lions, fished, and gathered shellfish and seaweed along the coast.