Blogs

The "wild horses" tale

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As the resolutions of the environmental authorities arrives to us, and to HidroAysen, that invalidate previous resolutions and resolves claims against the approval of the HidroAysén project (432 pages), we are waiting to see if that company will appeal to the environmental courts. 
 

A major victory in Patagonia: Chilean government rejects HidroAysén dam project

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The Baker River near Estancia Chacabuco, future Patagonia National Park..   ©Daniel BeltraThe Baker River near Estancia Chacabuco, future Patagonia National Park.. ©Daniel Beltra
 
 
By Amanda Maxwell
 
Chile’s government – under the leadership of President Bachelet – made a landmark decision today when it rejected the controversial HidroAysén dam project. "The HydroAysen hydroelectric project is rejected," declared the Minister of the Environment upon announcing the decision this morning. This is a major victory for the majority of Chileans and the tens of thousands of people around the world who oppose building large, unsustainable dams in wild Patagonia – and for those who think that Chile can be a global clean energy leader by developing its remarkable potential for renewables* and energy efficiency.
 

A sustainable Patagonia beyond HidroAysen

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Baker River, by Jimmy LangmanBaker River, by Jimmy Langman
 
 
By Patricio Segura
 
For many, today defines everything. For others, everything stays the same. For me, neither this nor that.
 
As Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco has said, for anyone who wants to hear him, and as has many congressmen have repeated, today they will not be deciding whether or not to build dams in Patagonia. “A Patagonia without dams is not in play,” has been Pacheco’s exact words.
 

Issue 5 - Private Parks on the Rise

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Our fifth issue features a cover story on the rise of private parks in Patagonia; a photo essay from one of Chile's longtime photographer legends, Pablo Valenzuela; a special travel section on Chile's Lake District including stories from veteran guidebook author Wayne Bernhardson and British travel writer Gabriel O'Rorke; a report on sustainable fly fishing in Mongolia; and the story behind a recent, historic first winter ascent of Mount Sarmiento in Tierra del Fuego, among several other articles. Below is the full table of contents.
 

2nd Patagonia Photo Contest

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Patagon Journal announces the launch of its 2nd Patagonia Photo Contest.
 
Open to amateur or professional photographers, from any country, we want to receive your best images of the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina.
 
This is a part of the world that without doubt provides extraordinary possibilities for photography.  Last year, our inaugural contest was a great success with an impressive display of photos that made it difficult to decide the winning images. So, to help us with that honorable task this year, we have a distinguished panel of judges; they include:
 

Photo Gallery: Dynamic Chiloé

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Editors Note: This is the sixth article in our special series "Travel in Los Lagos," sponsored by Sernatur Los Lagos. 

Text and photos by Nicholas Gill
 
 
One of southern Chile’s most dynamic places for its landscape, food and culture is Chiloé, the stunningly beautiful archipelago hanging off of continental Chile, but twisted in some distinctive form. Though the main island can be reached via a short ferry ride across the Chacao Channel from the mainland, Chiloé has developed in large part in insolation, forming a culture unlike anywhere else in the country.
 
This is a place where tales of mythological figures such as sirens, witches and ghost ships are woven into the fabric of daily life. These superstitions were originally a product of the indigenous Huiliche communities, but when the Spanish arrived Chilote folklore began to fuse with elements of Christianity. That transition was sped forward greatly when Jesuit missionaries built hundreds of wood shingle churches, many of which are now UNESCO World Heritage sites.
 
The archipelago is a place of rolling green hills, dramatic beaches, and thick temperate forests, which together form one of the most unique collections of flora and fauna in South America. That ecological diversity has also helped give Chiloé one of Chile’s most distinct regional cuisines.  While curanto - a potluck of meat, shellfish, and tubers that are cooked in an earthen oven – is the most representative dish, there’s much more to be found here. Traditionally a seafaring culture, the diet here is rich in fish and shellfish, as well as aquatic plants, though the patchwork of green pastures provides grazing room for lambs as fine as any in Patagonia and the growing of potatoes, which are used in almost everything.
 
Modern Chiloé is increasingly leaning on its past. In the capital of Castro the iconic palafitos, stilted wood buildings, are being turned into cafes and boutique hotels, effectively preserving them. Modern architects are building structures that resemble the hulls of ships. Natural resources, such as the Puñihuil penguin colony or the forests and swampland of Chiloé National Park, are being protected with help from the increasing number of tourists. An airport, Mocopulli, is even in operation here now, which means you can reach Castro by flights from Santiago and Puerto Montt, though the ferry system is more efficient than it has even been.
 
 
1. The cushy, all-inclusive 12-room Refugia Lodge on an isolated shore outside of Castro, used master Chilote woodcarvers to create the furniture and frame, while they filled it with hand spun, naturally dyed textiles from the archipelago. 1. The cushy, all-inclusive 12-room Refugia Lodge on an isolated shore outside of Castro, used master Chilote woodcarvers to create the furniture and frame, while they filled it with hand spun, naturally dyed textiles from the archipelago.
 
 

Photo Gallery: The Cochamo Valley trail

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Editors Note: This is the fifth article in Patagon Journal’s special series "Travel in Los Lagos" sponsored by Sernatur Los Lagos
 
Text and photos by Carlos Gutiérrez
 
Cochamó is located in the middle of the Andes, just a few hours from Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas. Nestled between mountains, fjords and sea, it is a true natural paradise. Trekking, horseback riding, and kayaking are among the outdoor opportunities here. It is also an important spot for rock climbers. For many, Cochamo’s granite walls are reminiscent of Yosemite National Park in California.
 
If you’re like us, the journey is more important than the destination: take your time and go for a long hike. You can contact a guide or you can simply do it yourself on the marked trails. You will be constantly rewarded by the native flora and fauna, and stunning Eden-like landscapes. 

 

1.There are many attractive bridges on the hiking trails, often utilizing fallen trees. 1.There are many attractive bridges on the hiking trails, often utilizing fallen trees.

 
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