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Creating a National Park in Patagonia: All a Part of the Job at Patagonia

Holiday 2007

The holidays are a time to give – and a time to give back. Thirty-odd years ago, when we borrowed the evocative name Patagonia for our new clothing company, only a few of us had been there. It seemed a faraway name, like Timbuktu, at a time when the world still had faraway places.

Now that we have come to know the planet as exceptionally small and delicately balanced, many of us from Patagonia the company have come to know Patagonia the place.

Kris Tompkins, one of our first employees and our longtime CEO, moved to Chilean Patagonia in 1993, to a farm called Fundo Renihue at the end of a fjord. Through their family foundation, The Conservation Land Trust, she and her husband Doug purchased nearly 800,000 acres of temperate rainforest and created Pumalin Park, an area nearly the size of Yosemite National Park. In 2000, Kris founded Conservación Patagónica to protect and restore critical habitat in the Patagonia region – a semi-arid and arid area heavily damaged by 100 years of overgrazing by livestock. During the last 15 years the Tompkins have put nearly two million acres of important habitat into some form of permanent protection between Chile and Argentina.