Leave No Trace: How to enjoy nature without damaging it

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Photo: Felipe PimentelPhoto: Felipe Pimentel
 By Raúl Castro
Editors Note: The following is from Issue 18.
Although enormously powerful, nature is fragile when facing the impacts that humans are capable of causing. This idea is even more evident when we consider the accelerating population growth on the planet and the growing demand for outdoor activities to reconnect us with that nature which is a victim of our carelessness.

The Cochamo Valley Organization prepares measures to minimize the impact of tourism

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Viewpoint at Arcoiris trailViewpoint at Arcoiris trail
Press release, Nov. 22 - The Cochamó Valley Organization, which brings together tour operators, proprietors, muleteers, local NGOs and friends of the valley, are preparing for the third consecutive year measures to control access to the Cochamó Valley in Chile’s Lake Region in order to reduce environmental impacts and improve the visitor experience. The program, called “Reservas Valle de Cochamó,” establishes the maximum carrying capacity for campsites and the communication campaign “IF YOU WANT TO VISIT, YOU NEED RESERVATIONS” to raise awareness, which is the result of collaborative work between the community,  social organizations and public health services, tourism, the municipality and the local police.

Illegal logging: the underground exploitation of alerce

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Photo: Bastián OñatePhoto: Bastián Oñate 
By Sofía Navarro and Bastián Oñate
Editors Note: The following is from Issue 18.
Neither the gloom that reigns over the landscape nor the early hour of roughly six in the morning makes us lower our guard during the trip from Puerto Varas to the town of Alerce. There we have arranged to meet with Álvaro Dufournel, administrator of the Entre Ríos farm, located on the imposing slopes of the Calbuco volcano. After meeting at the agreed-upon spot, we follow him to the entrance of the property.

Conservation and tourism: the Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia

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 Yendegaia National Park. Photo: Tompkins ConservationYendegaia National Park. Photo: Tompkins Conservation

By Tomas Moggia
Translated by Brent Harlow
The most spectacular scenic route in the world. That categorical and ambitious epithet has been used to refer to the Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia. And it probably is. There sure is plenty of variety: temperate rainforests, Patagonian steppes, ice fields, endless mountains, fjords, lakes, and glaciers are just part of the mosaic that provides colors, lights, and contrast to the 2,800-kilometer (1,740 miles) route that crosses the three regions at the southern end of Chile. From north to south, the parks route begins in Puerto Montt, and ends at Cape Horn, connecting 17 national parks and more than 60 neighboring communities. There are 11.5 million hectares (28.4 million acres) of protected land that are home to 140 species of birds and 46 species of mammals.

This week: Valdivia to host national conference on birdwatching in southern Chile

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Photo: Jorge Cardenas/FlickrPhoto: Jorge Cardenas/Flickr
By Zoe Baillargeon
Chile’s diverse landscapes and extensive system of national parks and protected areas are increasingly making it a world-class haven for viewing a wide range of intriguing and beautiful bird species, especially migratory birds. The Atacama desert, the Los Lagos region, and the far south of Patagonia are often cited as top places for birdwatching, but tourism industry professionals and ornithologists are eager to promote the many untapped opportunities for birding tourism in the Los Rios region and elsewhere in southern Chile at this week’s 2nd National Bird Watching in Southern Chilean Ecosystems Conference.

Issue 18 - Native Forests

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The tremendous photo of alerce trees on the cover of Issue 18, which was taken by legendary photographer Galen Rowell at Alerce Andino National Park, is a beautiful sample of the many natural treasures found in Chile’s native forests. Yet, while we have seen some major advances over the past two decades in conserving those forests, in this issue's cover story Patagon Journal executive editor Jimmy Langman shows how the Chilean forest is still under considerable threat. In addition, Bastián Oñate and Sofía Navarro report on the illegal logging of the alerce, the world’s second-oldest living tree species. We have a profile about Rick Klein, one of Chile’s unsung environmental heroes who is responsible for saving countless acreage of forests. Malu Sierra reminds us why tree plantations are definitely not forests. And forestry scientist Alex Fajardo writes on how to restore Chilean forests.


Dreaming of Patagonia

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 Fitz Roy. Photo by Camilo RadaFitz Roy. Photo by Camilo Rada

By Natalia Bugedo
Translated by Brent Harlow
What do you think of when people talk about Patagonia? Ever since I was little, I would think of Torres del Paine, the Carretera Austral, the fjords, and lots and lots of ice. Visiting Patagonia is a dream in the minds of all Chileans, and some of them make that dream a reality, at least once in their lives.

Cochamó to host workshops on the benefits of a water reserve

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Puelo and Llanada Grande will hold two informative workshops for the public today and Saturday. Experts and lawyers will present why the waters of the Puelo River should be declared a protected “water reserve,” and why a formal proposal for such a protection status should be presented to the Chilean goverment.

Torres del Paine: Restoring the Base Torres trail

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 Torres del Paine National Park. Photo: Torres del Paine Legacy FundTorres del Paine National Park. Photo: Torres del Paine Legacy Fund

By Jenny Tolep
One of Chile’s most prized possessions, Torres del Paine National Park is a hotspot for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts that currently draws more than 260,000 tourists annually. But sadly, this beloved park is threatened to be loved to death. Increasing numbers of visitors, plus the annual pounding the terrain receives from strong winds and rain, have the park’s trails quickly deteriorating. Without immediate action, the erosion will become too severe and the trails will be permanently damaged. 
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