Three years ago while, hiking in Torres del Paine, I was lucky enough to meet Drew, who has subsequently joined a small team of people dedicated to helping travellers and local residents to ensure the sustainability of Patagonia’s most famous national park. Here Drew talks about the Torres del Paine Legacy project, it’s aims and how you can get involved…
With all the beauty that Torres del Paine has to offer, it’s no surprise that the National Park attracts over 175,000 visitors each year. CONAF, the Chilean National Forest Corporation, expects this figure to increase by over 10% per year. But the travellers who visit the park do not go unnoticed…
What impact are Travellers having on Torres del Paine National Park?
Since 1985, the park has suffered three major forest fires, affecting over one fifth of the park’s 242,000 hectares; sadly, each of these has been started by travellers.
Growth in visitation has increased foot traffic along the iconic W and Circuit treks to the point where the limited trail system is in need of repair, yet the ability to do so lacks both financial and human resources.
Is anything being done about it?
There are numerous, ongoing efforts to restore the health of Torres del Paine National Park, but with such a massive geographical area and increased strain on resources, it is a long and slow process. It is because of this shortfall of support that the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund was born.
What does the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund do?
Through traveler-supported sustainability initiatives, the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund enables visitors to become a positive economic and ecological force in the park and in the region through responsible behaviours and direct contributions to enhancement projects.
The Fund’s mission is to enhance the experience and long-term health of Torres del Paine and its surrounding communities as tourist destinations through sustainability projects that are supported by travellers and local businesses.
In partnership with local private and public leaders in Última Esperanza and international NGO, Sustainable Travel International, the Fund is a platform for residents in the community to propose projects that enhance the destination, such as reforestation, trail restoration, and waste management.
How can I get involved?
We welcome you to join us in this mission. 100% of all donations made will go directly to sustainability initiatives, so you can trust that your generosity will have a direct, indirect, and induced positive impact on the legacy of this destination long after your stay. Here’s how to Donate, please do mention Swoop Patagonia in the ‘how did you hear about us’ section.