New Protections in Patagonia Show Chile’s Commitment to Conservation

Kawésqar community to co-manage national park but not marine reserve, which carries lesser safeguards.

Spread across fjords, forests, wetlands, bays, rivers, and towering peaks of southwestern Patagonia are Chile’s newest protected areas, Kawésqar National Park and Kawésqar National Reserve. Covering millions of acres in the Magallanes region, the areas won national protection following years of effort and collaboration among the Kawésqar communities, environmental organizations, and government officials.

The national park, which was signed into law along with the reserve in mid-January, is the second largest in the Patagonian region—behind Bernardo O’Higgins National Park—and one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world.

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