President of Chile, Tompkins Conservation Sign Historic Pledge to Create 11 Million Acres of New National Parks

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PUMALÍN PARK, CHILE (March 15, 2017) – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, leader of Tompkins Conservation, today signed a pledge to dramatically expand national parkland in Chile by approximately 11 million acres. The proposal includes the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country; the total area to be protected, via this private land donation plus government land, is three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined.

When fully executed, the agreement will create five new national parks — including two crown jewels of Tompkins Conservation’s park creation work, Pumalín Park and Patagonia Park, and the 1 million acres and world-class infrastructure they contain — and expand three others.

The signing of this historic pledge reflects a desire to continue and deepen Chile’s tradition of conservation, a sentiment which President Bachelet expressed in her speech today. “Today, alongside Kris, I am honored to see how everything has come together. … We are bequeathing to the country the greatest creation of protected areas in our history.”

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Tompkins Conservation’s 715,000-acre Pumalín Park will become part of Chile’s national park system under the new commitment. 

WASHINGTON — Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and American conservationist Kristine Tompkins on Wednesday pledged to grow Chile’s national park lands by roughly 11 million acres ― an area more than four times the size of Yellowstone National Park.

The announcement comes after lengthy negotiations and is the culmination of decades of work by Tompkins, who is the former CEO of outdoor retailer Patagonia, and her late husband and North Face co-founder, Douglas Tompkins.

“There’s never, to our knowledge, been a larger expansion of a national park system that was prompted by a private land donation,” Tom Butler, vice president of conservation advocacy at Tompkins Conservation, told The Huffington Post.

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