Chile’s Patagonia region has a brand-new attraction for visitors, especially hikers and wildlife fans: A new national park reclaimed from former sheep-raising land.
The park, the project of the American founders of the Patagonia outdoor clothing brand, has been donated to Chile to form one of its largest national parks. When joined with existing nearby nature reserves, it will be bigger than the Torres del Paine park.
The couple, Kristine and Doug Tompkins fell in love with Patagonia years ago, and were able to buy Estancia Valle Chacabuco, complete with 25,000 sheep. The sale took place just before lambing season; by the time the sheep could be sold there were 50,000. Since 2004, when they bought it, land areas have been restored and native animals, including guanacos, have been returning, in time for the opening.