Chilean Goverment to Go ahead with Pumalin Park Road

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Chilean Goverment to Go ahead with Pumalin Park Road

Post by admin » Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:12 pm

The Chilean Goverment today announced that they are going to go ahead with the construction of the road across Pumalin Park. They will be meeting with the lawyers from the Douglas Tompkins' Pumalin Foundation to work out the price they are going to pay for the land.

The Military will build the road, and it will go along the coast as Tompkins wanted. There will be an easment for Power lines as Endesa wanted.

We have articles on this currently on All Southern Chile Environmental section, and more on the way at: Southern Chile Environmental issues

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Full Spanish Text of Pumalin Announcment from El mercurio

Post by admin » Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:23 pm

We thought we would reprint the article here rather than link to it on the El Mercurio website, because they only publish on their site for 7 days.

Jueves 5 de octubre de 2006

Ministro de OO.PP.:
Camino hacia Palena se hará por las tierras de Tompkins

Eduardo Bitran dijo que ruta de 100 km tendrá un costo de US$ 100 millones.

El ministro de Obras Públicas, Eduardo Bitran, anunció ayer la decisión del Gobierno de construir un camino interior, pero bordeando la costa, para unir Palena y la Región de Aisén al resto del país, totalizando así unos 1.500 km de ruta continua entre Puerto Montt, X Región, y Villa O'Higgins, XI Región.

Los trabajos se iniciarán a principios de 2007 y tendrán un costo de US$ 100 millones, financiados en partes iguales por el MOP y el Cuerpo Militar del Trabajo (CMT) del Ejército, que ejecutará las obras, según confirmó Bitran en sesión de la Cámara realizada ayer en Valparaíso.

El CMT tiene amplia experiencia en sectores de difícil acceso y condiciones geográficas como las que presenta la zona.

El trazado cruza dos grandes propiedades privadas: el Parque Pumalín y el fundo San Ignacio de Huinay. El primero, un santuario de la naturaleza de propiedad de la Fundación del mismo nombre, fue creación del estadounidense Douglas Tomp-kins, que previamente anunció que exigirá una indemnización de concretarse su expropiación.

Bitran confirmó que intentarán llegar a un acuerdo y que recibirá a Tompkins en los próximos días, pero que de fracasar esa iniciativa, se expropiará.

El tramo, de unos 100 kilómetros, quedó inconcluso cuando por razones técnicas y económicas se interrumpió la construcción de la Carretera Austral, a mediados de los años 80.

La noticia fue recibida con júbilo en Palena, cuya población ha recurrido a caminos, abastecimiento y hasta servicios hospitalarios argentinos por la falta de una ruta a Chile central.

Ruta de 100 kilómetros unirá Hornopirén y Caleta Gonzalo. Cuesta US$ 100 millones y la hará el Cuerpo Militar del Trabajo.


SOLEDAD NEIRA Y HERNÁN CISTERNAS

Un camino de ripio, de 100 kilómetros y 6 metros de ancho, diseñado para una velocidad de entre 40 y 50 kilómetros por hora, dará continuidad a la Carretera Austral y sacará de su aislamiento a cerca de 120 mil habitantes de la provincia de Palena y de la Región de Aisén.

La obra vial, con un costo de 100 millones de dólares, será construida por el interior del Parque Pumalín, no obstante la oposición a ese trazado manifestada por el empresario norteamericano Douglas Tompkins.

La decisión del gobierno fue dada a conocer anoche por el Ministro de Obras Públicas, Eduardo Bitran, durante una sesión especial que la Cámara de Diputados realizó para analizar la conectividad vial y la exigencia por parte de Tompkins del pago de una eventual indemnización.

Bitran afirmó que si no se logra un acuerdo con Tompkins se aplicará la ley de expropiaciones, tal como ocurre con cualquier propietario de un terreno requerido por el fisco.

Tompkins, que la semana pasada viajó a Santiago para exponer su exigencia de indemnización, no fue ubicable anoche en su predio de la Región de los Lagos. Representantes de la Fundación Pumalín anunciaron que hoy harán pública su posición.

El gobierno habría iniciado contactos con un staff de abogados para que negocien los términos de las indemnizaciones que pretende exigir Tompkins.

Según el senador Antonio Horvath, la Fundación Pumalín debería recibir unos $200 millones por la expropiación de entre 900 y mil hectáreas, o sea $200 mil por hectárea.

Bitran expuso a los diputados que en 2005 el MOP contrató a una consultora para estudiar alternativas de conectividad vial entre Puerto Montt y Palena. Se analizaron doce opciones terrestres, marítimas y mixtas.

Hace un mes y medio la consultora propuso un camino entre Hornopirén y Caleta Gonzalo, con una inversión de 210 millones de dólares. A la vez, una alternativa costera por 45 millones de dólares, que requería del uso de transbordadores.

Teniendo en cuenta las condiciones climáticas de la zona, el MOP se inclinó por la primera ruta, pero estimó excesivo el costo de la inversión.

En la búsqueda de una opción razonable, se determinó que en vez de ruta pavimentada sea de ripio y con características que permitan cubrir el trayecto en una hora y media. Actualmente ambos puntos se unen entre seis y doce horas.

La nueva propuesta, cuya construcción estará a cargo del Cuerpo Militar del Trabajo, redujo el costo a 100 millones de dólares.

El Ministro de Obras Públicas informó que la nueva ruta permitirá ofrecer servidumbre para el tendido de transmisión eléctrica, lo que minimizará el impacto ambiental en el parque. Hizo notar los enormes potenciales hidroeléctricos de la zona.

Bitran adelantó que se trabaja además en el desarrollo de un nuevo paso fronterizo que permitirá llegar a la localidad argentina de El Bolsón, generando un circuito turístico de gran nivel nacional e internacional.

El CMT

El Cuerpo Militar del Trabajo (CMT) depende del Comando de Ingenieros del Ejército para la ejecución de obras de bien público, por mandato presidencial u organismos del Estado.

Creado el 9 de marzo de 1953 mediante Decreto Ley 200, su sede es Santiago, con subjefaturas zonales en Arica, Antofagasta, Temuco, Osorno, Coihaique y Punta Arenas. Su mando radica en el jefe del Comando de Ingenieros, general Alessandro Cartoni Pruzzo.

Sus obras son ejecutadas por mandato del MOP en lugares de difícil acceso, siendo su realización más emblemática la construcción de la Carretera Austral, en la X y XI Región.

FECHAS CLAVE

MEDIADOS '80. Se interrumpen los trabajos de la Carretera Austral.

1990-95. Período de compra de terrenos por parte de Douglas Tompkins.

1997. Principio de acuerdo entre el Gobierno y Tompkins para asegurar conectividad a través de sus tierras.

1998. Endesa compra fundo Huinay y así evita que Tompkins adquiera más predios.

2003. Firma de acuerdo entre Gobierno y Tompkins para asegurar conectividad terrestre hacia Palena.

2005. Gobierno ordena estudio para evaluar opciones de ruta.

2006. Consultora R&Q fija costo de US$ 210 millones para camino terrestre.

ALCALDES DE PALENA SE DECLARAN FELICES POR LA NOTICIA

LUIS GALLARDO
alcalde de Chaitén

"Esta noticia hace historia y la gente va a recordar este momento como el día en que la zona entra al desarrollo en igualdad de condiciones. Vamos a hacer una fiesta el día que llegue la Presidenta a anunciar oficialmente la construcción de esta obra".

EDUARDO SANHUEZA
alcalde de Hualaihué

"Es el camino más corto para nosotros y nos permitirá llegar con seguridad a nuestro destino, puesto que no vamos a depender de las condiciones climáticas o de mar". Manifestó su deseo de que la ruta se pueda construir lo más pronto posible.

ARTURO CARVALLO
alcalde de Futaleufú

"Me parece estupendo, y fui el primero en dar la noticia en la provincia de Palena. En Chaitén están felices, hay caravanas de vehículos desbordando alegría. Noticia fuerte, algo que todos anhelábamos, pero es concreto. Sólo esperamos que empiecen a trabajar".

JAIME CHÁVEZ
alcalde de Palena

"Es un sueño cumplido para toda la gente de la provincia de Palena y de la zona sur austral de Chile. Todo el mundo está contento y feliz, y sienten que el país y las autoridades han hecho justicia con los colonos que poblaron esta zona".

PARLAMENTARIOS DESTACAN IMPORTANCIA DE LA OBRA

CAMILO ESCALONA
Senador PS

"Era la voluntad de la Presidenta Bachelet el llevar a cabo este camino. Solamente faltaba precisar el monto de los recursos. La mejor propuesta es la que ha ofrecido el Ejército de Chile, a través del CMT, a quienes agradezco la voluntad y disposición".

ANTONIO HORVATH
Senador RN

"Es una sabia decisión y un beneficio no sólo para los aiseninos y pobladores de Palena, sino para todos los chilenos. Como ingeniero y parlamentario voy a colaborar en todo lo que sea necesario. Esto habla muy bien del ministro y del Ejército".

ADOLFO ZALDÍVAR
Senador DC

"Es fundamental para la integración física del territorio y va a terminar definitivamente con el aislamiento. Es una decisión técnica y espero que los propietarios tengan la misma generosidad de quienes entregaron tierras sin costo para el Estado".

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Goverment official statement on the road

Post by admin » Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:26 pm

Here is the link to the Goverments official statement on the planned road through Pumalin:

http://www.moptt.cl/noticias/200610/061004_bitran.htm

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translation

Post by admin » Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:02 am

I think I will need a translation to Spanish for that one.

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Not sure what way to lean

Post by admin » Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:14 am

Yea, I kind of have mixed feelings about the whole road thing. On the one hand all the people south of Pumalin do suffer because of the road. Everything cost more money because there is no road. On the other hand, it is also what is buying time to protect that great piece of land.

I guess when the Dam project started picking up more speed in the political circles in Chile, it was more or less a done deal.

We are still waiting for a public statement from Tompkins on the whole issue.

From an investment standpoint, we would expect that part of Chile to really start taking off in terms of land values.

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Pumalin far from settled

Post by admin » Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:45 am

Here is a report a friend sent through to us. There seems to be some conflicting versions of what the plan is for the Pumalin road.

source: SFcronicle
Highway threatens Chilean preserve created by S.F. man

Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, October 8, 2006

The 762,000-acre Pumalin Park, created by Douglas Tompkin... Roads, dams for Southern Chile. Chronicle Graphic

* Printable Version
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The Chilean government is planning to blast a highway directly through one of the country's most pristine wilderness areas, a move that environmentalists say threatens a unique experiment in international forest protection.

On Wednesday, government officials announced that they will build a 62-mile highway through Pumalin Park, a nature refuge created by San Francisco multimillionaire Douglas Tompkins that ranges from glaciated peaks to steep-walled fjords and includes some of Chile's last remaining groves of giant alerce trees, a relative of California's redwoods.

The government of President Michelle Bachelet also signaled that it will push ahead with another controversial project, a proposed $4 billion hydroelectric complex south of Pumalin that would dam the Baker and Pasqua rivers, world-famous for fishing and whitewater kayaking.

The double-barreled decision shocked environmentalists in Chile and abroad who had hoped that Bachelet, a socialist who took office in February, would continue the nation's gradual swing toward protection of its wilderness areas, which include almost one-third of the world's remaining virgin temperate rain forest.

Instead, they say, Bachelet has dramatically reversed course.

"It's crazy and illogical to do this," said Adriana Hoffman, who was director of the government's National Environmental Commission during the administration of Bachelet's predecessor, Ricardo Lagos.

"By building this highway, they are going to destroy such a marvelous area, using huge amounts of explosives that will cause huge damage to the forests and the marine life of the fjords," said Hoffman, now the president of Defenders of the Chilean Forest, an environmental group based in Santiago, the Chilean capital.

The Bachelet administration says the highway is needed for economic development and energy security. Chile lacks petroleum resources and suffers from chronic blackouts because of interruptions in imports of electricity and natural gas from neighboring Argentina.

"We are going to expropriate this strip of land (through Pumalin) because we know that Chile needs hydroelectric resources ... multiple resources, potential rights of way," said Minister of Public Works Eduardo Bitran when he announced the decision last week. "This is great news for those Chileans who want a more united country."

Government officials say the road project will cost $100 million, starting next year and finishing in 2010.

Other experts predict it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars more, given the need to blast across steep mountainsides and build dozens of bridges.

Construction of the highway will fill in the last gap between Chile's densely populated center and the thinly settled far south. Until now, this gap has been occupied by Pumalin, a 762,000-acre, Yosemite-size area that Tompkins purchased from various landholders in the early 1990s and assembled into a private park, open to the public. The park stretches from the Pacific to the Argentine border, and conservative politicians representing the far south have long complained bitterly that a foreigner was blocking their access to the rest of the country.

In a country where environmental protection is still seen by many as a foreign concept, Tompkins and his Chilean allies have fashioned their defense of Pumalin in cautiously economic terms.

They accept the need for improved transit in the area but say the highway should follow a route farther to the west than the one chosen. Their alternative would skirt Pumalin Park and use high-speed ferries to link existing stretches of dirt road that serve isolated fishing villages.

"I thought rational minds would prevail, that the government would put its money to better use," Tompkins said in a telephone interview Friday. "We accept the need for better connectivity, but the route we proposed would serve more people, be much faster to build and would cost only one-tenth the amount."

Bitran, the government official who announced the project last week, said the main reason to build the highway is to provide uninterrupted access for construction of long-distance power transmission lines to the four huge dams proposed for the Baker and Pasqua rivers, about 400 miles south of Pumalin. That project, operated by Spanish-owned Endesa and Hydro-Quebec of Canada, would inundate long stretches of the two rivers and generate 2,400 megawatts.

The government has not yet given final approval to the project, which is still in the thick of environmental impact studies, but Bitran suggested that Bachelet has made up her mind.

"We're extremely disappointed that they would go ahead and treat these dams as a fait accompli, creating the infrastructure for them before any type of environmental impact studies have been completed," said Patrick McCully, executive director of International Rivers Network of Berkeley, which is fighting the project. "It shows that when they do the studies, they'll be the worst kind of rubber stamping. This will destroy two of the world's most pristine temperate forest rivers."

Tompkins and his wife, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the former CEO of outdoor clothiers Patagonia Inc., are vocal opponents of the dam projects, saying that Chile should instead solve its electricity needs by adopting energy-saving technologies and by installing "run-of-river" hydro projects -- networks of smaller facilities that divert water through tunnels to generate power.

Tompkins has sparked bitter opposition in Chile and Argentina, where many politicians on the left and right view him as a "gringo imperialist." He publicly advocates a radical environmental philosophy called "deep ecology," which holds that human consumption should be reduced to help protect nature.

To advance this agenda, he has spent about $150 million of his own fortune, which he earned as co-founder of the Esprit clothiers and North Face outdoor equipment company. He has been a vocal opponent of the logging and fish farming industries, and he has purchased about 2 million acres in both countries that he is preserving as parkland.

Earlier last week, Sen. Antonio Horvath, a conservative who represents the Pumalin and Aysen southern regions, insisted that Tompkins be expelled from Chile for speaking out against the highway plan.

Tompkins was labeled "incredibly insolent" by Eduardo Frei, another conservative who is president of the Senate and was Chile's president from 1994 until 2000.

"He is trying to keep any roads from being built," Frei said. "This gentleman thinks he's the owner of the country. No way, Chile cannot accept this. Chile is a sovereign country."

Environmentalists view Bachelet's move to proceed with the highway and dam projects as part of a pro-industry slant.

In recent months, Bachelet's administration has been working with legislators to write a law governing the logging industry, which in recent decades has replaced much of the broad-leafed forests in Chile's cool, rainy south with huge tree farms of eucalyptus and Monterey pine. From 1985 to 1995, Chile lost 4.5 million acres of native forest, and the logging industry now produces about $4 billion in annual exports.

"Bachelet is following Chile's tradition of subjugating its natural patrimony to serve wealthy foreign markets," said Aaron Sanger, a Chile representative of ForestEthics, a San Francisco group. Sanger has been working with Chilean loggers to introduce sustainable harvesting techniques that protect native forests from further destruction. Bachelet's new law, he said, does little to conserve these forests.

Sanger pointed out a small irony of last week's announcements: that Bachelet is fulfilling the wishes of her own worst enemy. The highway's formal title is President Augusto Pinochet Southern Highway, named after the former rightist dictator who championed its construction in the 1970s and 1980s. Bachelet was tortured in a military jail after Pinochet grabbed power in a 1973 coup, and her father was arrested and killed.

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politics

Post by admin » Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:47 am

yea, think they call that "politics". Mix Chile's version with U.S. version, and it adds up to a glass being about 150% full sh**t. but, hey what is new.

I can not imagine $100 million US getting any military organization to do much of anything, let alone build a road across Pumalin. That would just about cover the Pisco budget for such a project. That budget will have to go up a lot in the next few years. In politics, there is nothing harder than spending money on an area with very few votes.

I did find the bit about the blackouts intresting. I am really not sure I have seen any that were the result of lack of juice in the lines. Not like the southwest US anyway. I have seen them in Chile for repairs, storms, and your normal infrastructure problems that go with any electrical system.

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Post by skyl4rk » Mon Oct 09, 2006 12:31 pm

Don't forget the blasting and spoil removal contract could be sweetened by getting the road base and gravel supply contract as well.

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ferries

Post by admin » Mon Oct 09, 2006 4:06 pm

We asked around about the ferries. As we understand in those fiords, what happens is it funnels the winds. We were told that the two fiords in question around Pumalin the winds will hit 120 miles per hour on a bad day.

On the other hand, those small dirt roads will be able to stand up to a few trucks before they will need another complete grading.

The map shows at least two major bridges. However, small streams that need to be bridged are about every 100 meters. In that span of road, there must be a 1000 of them at least, because of the glacier melt up above.

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pumalin news

Post by admin » Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:57 am

we had a few phone conversations and some meeting with people concerned. Our source at Pumalin park seems to think the Futa dam is inevitable. The issue is when. That said, we had another conversation with a local government official who believed that the Futa project was on a long-term hold because the road from Futa to Chaiten work had been put on hold to task the money and machinery to the Pumalin park road. The road from Futa to Chaiten would be needed for any dam project to be seriously considered a viable concern.

I think it all means this news is a wash, and the Pumalin road is more to run power lines to Baker river project. However, once done that does make a major hurdle to the building dams on the other rivers in the south a little more easy. Still, the rate of progress on all of these projects is an easy 10 years before anything really happens beyond press conferences. A lot can happen in 10 years. As far as we understand Endesa does not have even the approvals yet for the projects on any of the rivers, let alone a way to get power out of the area.

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Re: Chilean Goverment to Go ahead with Pumalin Park Road

Post by john » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:04 am

Just read this very interesting interview with Doug Tompkins on the guardian.co.uk site (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... -mcdougall).
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Re: Chilean Goverment to Go ahead with Pumalin Park Road

Post by helibel » Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:02 am

Interesting article, but I wish it had more info on the effects of the Volcano on Pumalin. For months, now it appears that the winds have been carrying what ash there is to the northeast and over Pumalin. Most news available is from the early days of the eruption.I'm also curious as to how the Chaiten eruption and the effects on the port will effect the decision to build "the Road"

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