Fantastic news for conservation recently. Torres del Paine national park in Southern Chilean Patagonia will have no new construction of hotels, which will only assist in reducing visitor numbers to the park and having less impact on local ecosystems. Here at Chimu Adventures we applaude the foresight of the Chilean Forestry Corporation. See article below..
.. The National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) has rejected six petitions to build luxury hotels within far southern Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park.
CONAF refused the requests saying there are no appropriate locations for the facilities. The government body worries that constructing the hotels would disrupt the ecological equilibrium in the park.
Torres del Paine spans 600 acres in Region XII and is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Its popularity is also growing. In 2008, 141,000 visitors came to the park to enjoy its natural beauty. Authorities predict that in 2010, 160,000 people will visit the zone.
CONAF Regional Director Juan José Romero says a set of rules protects the park from certain types of industrial development. Hotel companies, for example, cannot build in either the Eastern zone of the park or by the Serrano River. The rules were established to shield the park from environmental damages caused by construction and commercial pollution.
There are currently three options for overnight visitors: campsites sprinkled around the park, dormitory style rooms in hosterias, and two upscale hotels.
Representatives from hotel chains come to the park frequently looking for construction opportunities in the region. Romero says the reason park management received only six petitions is because most companies back off when they realize they cannot build directly within the park.
“The biggest challenge for the next 50 years will be to join tourism and economic development,” he said.
UNESCO, a United Nations agency for social and cultural issues, declared the territory a reserve in 1978. On Wednesday, the park will celebrate its 50-year anniversary. Park authorities agree there is a lot of work left to ensure the park remains sustainable for the next half century. Representatives associated with the park are concerned about how tourism hurts the natural landscape, but they are trying to balance environmental concerns with economic development.
Park administrators hope during the next few years to improve signage within the park, making trails more visible to hikers and increasing the frequency of signs along trails.
The Ministry of Public Works, meanwhile, wants to pave the roads that run throughout Torres Del Paine with asphalt. There is a dust problem on the current roads during the summer months, and gravel roads are more expensive to maintain because the region receives a large volume of rain during most months. Public Works Secretary Juan Francisco Miranda explains that maintaining the current gravel roadways is costly and hurts the environment.
SOURCE: EL MERCURIO (Chile)
Chimu Adventures offers a range of tours in Torres del Paine visit our website. We have options from luxury hotels, camping lodges such as the Eco camp to highlight packages.. email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!