Vast pampas give way to towering snow-capped mountains, their steep flanks rising and plunging dramatically, eventually plummeting down below the tree line and into the rich Patagonian forests below. The remote, inhospitable but indescribably spectacular landscapes of Parque Karuinka define wilderness.
The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) recently selected the area as one of the most “breathtaking” parks in the world and included Karukinka in an ongoing competition to win funding for further conservation projects.
This magnificent sub-Antarctic landscape is competing in the Alpine category — reserved tallest, steepest, coldest or most inaccessible tracts of pristine wildlife — alongside reserves in the Himalayas (Tibet) and the Isle of Skye (Scotland).
Parque Karukinka’s bid is centered around plans to educate and generate awareness among visitors, fishermens, tourist providers, locals, schools and residents to improve conservation and avoid catastrophes such as forest fires.
Established in 2004 through a donation from Goldman Sachs, Parque Karukinka is operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The almost 750,000 acre-site is one of the most remote places in the world, a natural paradise once inhabited by the indigenous Selk’nam people. Within its boundaries live guanacos, condors and albatrosses among others.
WCS-Chile Director Bárbara Saavedra said this competition marks a historic opportunity for Karukinka.
“We’ve recently seen Torres del Paine voted the 8th wonder of the world,” she told Radio Polar, referring the famous Patagonian park’s recent triumph. “Now we have to opportunity to vote and recognize Parque Karukinka as a further global destination for outdoor sports and help promote the wonders of Chile.”
The park is renowned for the world-class trekking available throughout. To get a taste of the scenery, watch of video of Sendera La Paciencia here.
Parque Karukinka is well off the beaten track and the best way to get there remains heading to the town of Porvenir in Tierra del Fuego where it is possible to either rent a vehicle or organize transport to the reserve.
To cast your vote head to the EOCA website. Voting closes March 31, so don’t hang around!