Private land donation leads to wild life refuge half the size of Belgium

The widow of The North Face founder makes the biggest land donation in history to “rewild” Patagonia


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The widow of US billionaire the founder of The North Face outdoor clothing brand, Doug Tompkins, is making the biggest land donation of land in history.

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins is making the Chilean government the custodian of 4080.000km². The agreement comes with the understanding that Chile will match the donation with 9490.000km² creating a 17 wild parks network stretching from North to South. The total surface will be comparable to the size of Switzerland, or half the size of Belgium.

Chile’s President, Michelle Bachelet, committed to treasuring this “giant source of biodiversity” in the public interest.

The billionaire couple arrived in Chile in the early 1990s and started buying land for no apparent reason. Conspiracy theories abounded, from a “doom’s day refuge” to building a nuclear refuge. Soon, it became clear the couple’s vision was to “rewild” Patagonia.

“I know that if Doug were here today, he would speak of national parks being one of the greatest expressions of democracy that a country can realize, preserving the masterpieces of a nation for all of its citizenry,” McDivitt told the BBC.

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