The indigenous conservation park Quinquén, located in Lonquimay of the Araucanía region, presents a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when indigenous people, conservation groups, and governments all work together.
Situated amidst a historic araucaria forest lying on the shores of Lago Galletué in southern Chile, this Pehuenche-Mapuche traditional community is connecting visitors to the region with the traditions of its longstanding culture and heritage.
A model joint effort
With the support of a regional government initiative through CORFO’s InnovaChile, Chile’s economic development agency, along with the guidance of the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) and the technical support of the national tourism service, SERNATUR, the effort set in motion a living model of conservation that other projects in Chile can follow.
The community of Quinquén had been a project in the making for over three years, and had its initial trial run in 2010. Since then the Quinquén conservation park has grown into a cooperative of 15 households, all sharing a modern vision of how to both conserve and share their culture.
An enriching cultural experience
For those looking to reconnect with nature, you can enjoy the fresh air scented by the many lenga, ñirre, coigue and araucaria trees, as you explore the trails of this protected area by foot or horseback.
A deeper immersion can be found during the high season, when host family stays are offered, among many other activities. You can take part in a piñoneo (group harvest of piñones, the pine nuts from the araucaria tree) with a Pehuenche family complete with local, homemade dishes prepared from local fixings. In addition to this, many traditional wares are available for purchase such as wood carvings or Mapuche weavings.
The community itself is nestled in the Lonquimay province, at the base of the Andes, and at the source of the mighty Biobío River.
The Pehuenche people are an ancient people known for their dedication to the forest and to raising animals. Their rich cultural heritage is intertwined with the roots of the majestic araucaria, or “monkey-puzzle tree,” which they hold sacred. It was from this wonder of nature that they received their identity: pewen, or araucaria, and che, or people, meaning “people of the araucaria.”
More information can be found on the project’s website, at www.quinquen.cl
Telephone/Email: (56) (45) 891 110 – email@example.com
The Kukawñe Ruka is the local visitor center. It is located on the main road through the community, accessed at the turn-off at km 18 on the road between Fusta and Icalma.