Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

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Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by admin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:16 am

Well, he kept his word. Tompkin's widow has donated 1 million acres to a new national park system, and the Chilean government has agreed to add 9 million acres of public land to the park system.

Not sure of the current accounting, but I believe Tompkins still has more land that is slated for donation. Somewhere I seen mention that he held 2.2 million acres.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017 ... ion-acres/
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Re: Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by admin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:22 am

I might point out also, even though Tompkins was the likely the most high-profile conservationist in the south, he is not the only one. He managed to inspire all sorts of organizations and individuals to conserve land in the Patagonia. Some I think he got them on board by twisting a few arms. For example, he convinced former president Pinera to buy up a massive chunk of southern Chiloe together, to turn in to a nature preserve. Around Futa, there are some very small, and not so small international organizations that have bought up land and recover the native forests.

His land was really just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of what has been preserved over the last couple of decades due to Tompkins.

We have clients that have come down, buying a few hectares here and there or even a few hundred hectares, with the intent of preserving them.

So, Tompkins managed to leverage his little plot of land in to a major conservation movement to protect the Patagonia, and that I am certain would have been stripped clean by the powers that be in Santiago.
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Re: Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by admin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:24 pm

In fact, now that I think about it, I would credit Tompkins with encouraging a lot of micro-conservation projects that are surprisingly cheap. You don't need to buy a million hectares to have an impact. I know he bought several relatively small plots (50 hectares or less) around Futa, and invested in doing things like planting native trees on what was basically pasture land and hay fields now. They were totally unconnected from the larger and more famous ones like Pumalin. In fact, if I recall he put them under another organization, to protect them from any political controversy of him being associated with them. He did that a lot in the last decade, as he sort of got the idea that sticking his name or face on the project was not conducive to his ultimate goal of preserving land. That is why I suspect he actually owns or controls much more land than is publicly reported.

We have had quite a few organizations and individuals over the years come down and buy very small strategic properties, for very little money, with a set purpose. For example, we have had bird conservation organizations buy a couple hectares that were strategic nesting or migration grounds. We also had some people a while back buy a few hectares, spending like 10 or 20 thousands U.S. that effectively cut off or retarded development of thousands of hectares of wild land beyond them.

He sort of showed the way to making big conservation impacts on a shoe string, while keeping them under the political radar.
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Re: Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by Britkid » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:00 pm

I managed to get to Parque Pumalin and the trails are very well looked after and very good. A nice place, albeit remote from anywhere.
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Re: Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by admin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:13 pm

Britkid wrote:I managed to get to Parque Pumalin and the trails are very well looked after and very good. A nice place, albeit remote from anywhere.
yea, I found the infrastructure to be as good or better than a lot of U.S. state or national parks. Especially the southern pumalin near Chaiten. They did a good job of corralling / attracting the humans to certain areas, with good trails, campsites, cabins, etc, so they would not impact the larger park; yet, keep everything relatively accessible.

He had a lot of large earth moving machines, landing strips, planes and so on for maintaining the properties.

Now the inevitable debate will start about if the Chilean government is ready, willing, and capable of taking care of it. I have been to plenty of "national parks" in Chile that were little more than a guy in a shack sometimes collecting a toll.

I was at a Spanish fort on Chiloe the other day, that the visitor center looks like it had been built about 10 years ago and had little done to it since then to maintain it. Two employees. The park itself was not too bad, grass was cut, garbage was picked up, there were garbage cans, but there was a sign on the beach near the parking area stating no camping and no camp fires, and all the way around it was evidence of about two dozen campfires. Like within 20 meters of the sign. I am kind of surprised they did not try to burn the sign.

I hope they attached some serious strings to those parks for the Chilean government.

It was in fact Bachelet's first administration that Tompkins spent millions in legal combat with stopping the road through the park and other court battles. She did everything she could to undermine what he was doing. Classic socialist 'if you can't control it, destroy it' policy. at the same time they were pushing a policy for use of public land that private organizations had to prove a plan for economic development that brought more jobs, with no concern for environmental impact on the actual land. So essentially a plan to build a mine on public land would get priority over say a tourism business, simply because it could demonstrate higher paying jobs on paper.

Bachelet and her socialist comrades in Santiago are not friends of the environment. They come from the older school of socialism that the environment was to be exploited for political gain. Only in recent years, with the increasing association of the younger far left in Chile with international environmental movement, have they started implementing a more environmental political platform.

The biggest problem, and biggest protection those parks have going for them, is how remote they are. For 99% of Chileans, they will never, ever, see Pumalin. It is too far south, with too many dirt roads, for them to ever even have a concept of what it is and where it is. Nothing freaks out a Chilean from Santiago more than the sight of a dirt road. They think they are going to break their leg and never be found again.

It is good for preserving the parks, but bad when it comes to mustering political capital to fund them.

I guess I should cut Chile some slack. They have come a long way in recent years on the environmental and conservation front. I am old enough to remember fishing broken beer bottles out of lakes, dealing with two story mountains of garbage dumped in the forest, testing the content of mysterious 50 gallon drums, and planting trees to stop erosion in Northern Minnesota with my father in the late 1970's and early 80's. The U.S. has a long history of national and state park systems, but conservation was really something the government did in very special areas like yellow stone or whatever. Essentially the U.S. built parks when they had national lands they could not figure out how to exploit otherwise (even if later they found something to exploit).

I have a book sitting on my shelf I bought some time ago and have not gotten around to reading, "rightful heritage" by Douglas Brinkley, about FDR's fight to expand the national parks system. Perhaps I will start reading it now.

I grew-up hiking trails built by the CCC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_ ... tion_Corps), slept in cabins, shelters, and campsites they built, and otherwise benefited from that program even though it ended long before I was born. Chile needs a national CCC program in the rural areas to really jump start the conservation agenda. Perhaps they could swap out the mandatory military service they don't need anymore, for opting to join a CCC forestry program for a year or two. If Bachelet is serious about creating a national forestry service, that would be a good place to start.

Well, Tompkins always took the 'screw them, they will thank me later' attitude to his project. Hopefully he will be right. My hat is off to the guy for doing far more than just trying.
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Re: Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by frozen-north » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:01 am

admin wrote:
It was in fact Bachelet's first administration that Tompkins spent millions in legal combat with stopping the road through the park and other court battles. She did everything she could to undermine what he was doing.
Found a news item you posted at that time:
Highway threatens Chilean preserve created by S.F. man

Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, October 8, 2006

http://www.allchile.net/chileforum/view ... &t=44#p171

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Re: Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by frozen-north » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:06 am

admin wrote:
Well, Tompkins always took the 'screw them, they will thank me later' attitude to his project. Hopefully he will be right. My hat is off to the guy for doing far more than just trying.
Along the same lines:
Tompkins fight to save the wilds of Chile and Argentina despite local opposition

Robert Collier
Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Tompkinses make no secret of their radical environmental beliefs, and their tree-hugging ways have sparked fierce opposition in both countries, with nationalists on the political right and left accusing the couple of being gringo imperialists with a hidden agenda.

This clash between U.S.-style environmentalism and Latin America's rising nationalism is turning out to be long and messy.

At stake throughout the region is a historic opportunity much like the North American West in the 19th century -- an underpopulated vastness of prairie, glacier-capped mountains and majestic forests that can still be grabbed by anyone with money and ambition.

Yet the controversy over the Tompkinses' land grabs may reach further yet, influencing whether the continent's rising leftist movements try to protect or exploit their natural wonders.

http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/Sav ... 469825.php

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Re: Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by Space Cat » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:31 am

Wait, so was nationalism on the rise or leftist movements? :D

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Re: Tompkins Donates 1 million acres

Post by admin » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:32 am

Space Cat wrote:Wait, so was nationalism on the rise or leftist movements? :D
typical bla, bla, american press coverage template by a U.S. news source. They could have been talking about the price of beef in Brazil or Tequila in mexico.

They have to insert the "rise in nationalism" and "leftest movement" generalizations across Latin america, or they don't get past their editors. I am surprised they did not mention Pinochet or Venezuela, because you obviously can not talk about anything in Chile or Latin America without those key terms in it.
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