This Woman Is Helping Create Some of the World’s Greatest National Parks

Former Patagonia CEO Kristine McDivitt Tompkins has spent a quarter of a century preserving public lands across Chile and Argentina.

Last month, news broke that Chile would officially add 11 million acres to its National Park system, thanks to decrees signed by conservationist Kristine McDivitt Tompkins and Chilean president Michelle Bachelet—that’s three times the size of Yellowstone and Yosemite combined.

It’s an impressive feat, especially considering the move comes at a time when, here in the U.S., there is talk of public lands being sold off and environmental protections rolled back (in December, President Trump reduced the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Monuments in Utah).

The agreement made between the two women will create two new Pumalín and Patagonia national parks as well as a route of 17 other parks stretching 1,500 miles between Puerto Montt and Cape Horn.

McDivitt Tompkins, who was married to the late Doug Tompkins, founder of North Face and Esprit, has pledged one million acres of her own land to the project, making it the largest private-to-public donation in history. But it was no spontaneous act. In fact, she’s spent the last 25 years (and then some) dedicating her life to protecting swathes of land in Chile and Argentina by way of her charities and conservation efforts.

Here are just a few of her achievements…

 

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