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Issue 16 - Patagonian Ice Fields

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Patagonia still includes areas that are very much a last frontier for explorers, and none more than the several hundred glaciers that encompass the vast Patagonian Ice Fields. In this edition, we include three stories about three generations of explorers of the Patagonian ice. Andres Pinto, a young mountain climber from Chile, writes about his recent odyssey battling the unforgiving conditions of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Pablo Besser contributes an essay about his experience completing the first longitudinal crossing of the southern ice fields in 1999. And we profile Cedomir Marangunic, who explored the ice fields together with none other than the legendary British mountaineer Eric Shipton in the early 1960s.
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Chilean courts protect Patagonia’s Puelo and Cuervo rivers

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By James Blair
 
Local residents and environmentalists in Chile are enjoying a prolonged New Year’s celebration, thanks to two major legal decisions that will protect the country’s free-flowing rivers. Chile’s justice system put a final stop to two controversial large hydroelectric dam developments in Chilean Patagonia: (1) Mediterráneo S.A.’s run-of-the-river project proposed on tributaries of the Puelo River near Cochamó; and (2) Energía Austral SpA’s three-dam power plant proposed on the Cuervo River in the Aysén region.
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Fourth gathering of the Chilean Free-Flowing Rivers Network

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Photo: Constanza DougnacPhoto: Constanza Dougnac
 
 
Red por los Ríos Libres - Just a few weeks after the positive news about the final end of Hidroaysén, the Chilean Free-Flowing Rivers Network– formed by citizen groups, NGOs and individuals- expressed their joy at this great achievement. They also shared a conviction that there is still much to be done, given so many rivers are still threatened.
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New rules on visits to Cochamo Valley

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Puelo Patagonia Due to high demand, anyone who wants to visit the Cochamó Valley during the high season will have to make reservations in advance using the website www.reservasvallecochamo.org. This same measure applies in other places with high tourist demand like Torres del Paine, and has been in force in Cochamó since January with the aim of improving tourist experiences while protecting the area’s natural resources.
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The importance of preserving natural areas

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Cerro Castillo National Park. Photo: Jimmy Chin/Conservacion PatagonicaCerro Castillo National Park. Photo: Jimmy Chin/Conservacion Patagonica
 
 
By Andrés Gillmore
Translation by Jeannette Westwood

In recent years, it has become better understood that preserving rural areas is critical to planning sustainable development in Chile’s regions. With Chilean society experiencing an entirely new level of awareness, we must urgently determine which regional areas anticipate such planning and protect them from potential interventions that would undermine the communities dependent on these areas for their futures.
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