Douglas Tompkins, who founded The North Face and Esprit clothing companies has left a truly inspiring legacy with his wife Kristine McDivitt Tompkins in the creation of one of the world’s greatest national parks. Chile has agreed to the establishment of a park in Patagonia stretching 10 million acres. The park was based on land purchases for $345 million by the couple to protect this gorgeous and unique place. I cannot imagine a greater gift to humanity.
While my love for hiking has taken me all around the world, I have never gone to Patagonia (which remains at the top of my wish list).
Patagonia Park will stretch from Hornopirén, 715 miles south of the capital, Santiago, to Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America. The couple committed most of their fortune to save this area and the New York Times has some truly lovely pictures.
The sad part is that Douglas Tompkins died at 72 in December 2015 so he never saw the achievement of an act that will make him and Kristine legends. He died after a kayaking accident in Patagonia and, as someone who loves the outdoors, I view that as a fitting end to one of the world’s greatest environmentalists.
Honoring the Tompkins’ however should not take away from the incredible decision of the Chilean government. The Tompkins donated roughly one million acres. The Chilean government under the Bachelet administration ponied up with an additional nine million acres. It is a moving victory for not just environmentalist but humanity.
Thank You Doug and Kristine Tompkins and the Chilean people.
Now I can get busy trying to find a way to Patagonia Park.