SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The foundation created by the late creator of U.S. clothing brands Esprit and The North Face turned over 407,000 hectares (1 million acres) of forest, mountain, lakes and glaciers in Patagonia to the government of Chile on Friday, the Tompkins Conservation Foundation said.
The gift makes final a plan that began with Douglas Tompkins, a U.S. businessman turned conservationist who purchased the land piecemeal from ranchers and others over several years. It was the largest ever private donation of conservation land to the public, the foundation said.
Chilean forest service CONAF will manage the two newly created national parks, known as Pumalin and Patagonia, as well as related tourist infrastructure, including lodges, cabins and campsites, through a concession system.
Both parks are in a remote region of southern Chile known for its grandiose mountain scenery, untracked Andean peaks and rare species of wildlife, including mountain lions and Andean condors.
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