The Chilean government has put the greatest road trip in the world into development. It will be 1,500 miles long, take weeks to drive, and connect to 17 national parks. That’s right. 17. It will also bring explorers closer to Chile’s harshest forests, fjords, glaciers, volcanoes, and mountains.
This road, molded straight from an adventurer’s imagination, is called the Ruta de los Parques (Route of Parks).
Over 40 years ago, the dictator Augusto Pinochet created the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway), an effort to ease the access to Chile’s unpopulated wilderness. The ambitious project took over a decade for project officials to deem complete.
30 years later, they realized it was far it.
Patagonia CEO Kristine Tompkins and North Face co-founder Doug Tompkins founded the Tompkins Foundation, an effort to purchase huge areas in Patagonia to preserve the great wilderness for the enjoyment of travelers. To solidify their bond, the foundation donated 1 million acres of this property back to the Chilean government under the condition of continuing their efforts of conservation. The government responded—positively, you could say—by adding another 10 million to this ideal.
The idea is to turn Patagonia back into the wild, putting a halt on deforestation or any other development in the area. This, too, will massively expand national parks and create 5 entirely new ones.
The total land designated to this development is not only bigger than many national parks combined, but many countries altogether.
While Doug Tompkins is no longer around to see this dream come true due to an unfortunate kayaking accident of 2015, travelers will appreciate his efforts to the fullest for generations to come.
Featured image by Pixabay