RESTORING PATAGONIA FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Conservation Volunteers International Program (ConservationVIP) is dedicated to the sustainability of some of the world’s greatest landscapes and cultural sites. They provide opportunities for ordinary people to perform extraordinary volunteer services. Their projects include maintaining and building trails, restoring archaeological sites, and protecting and restoring critical habitats. Conservation VIP® will collaborate on the Boardwalk Project with the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund, a non-profit travel philanthropy fund dedicated to improving the visitor experience and long-term health of Torres del Paine National Park and its surrounding communities.
Thanks to the generous donation from REI Adventures, the ATCF and its members have awarded the ConservationVIP $30,000 to support the Torres del Paine National Park to ensure a more sustainable future for the community, wilderness, and tourism.
For eight years, REI Adventures and ConservationVIP have partnered to offer Volunteer Vacations for travelers. Their Patagonia Volunteer Vacation departing early next year will be focused on the boardwalk project. One hundred percent of all Volunteer Vacation proceeds support the hard costs of trips and ConservationVIP operations. The grant is part of REI Adventures’ broader Sustainable Tourism Awards that launched in 2013.
This Boardwalk Project provides a critical component on a new Alternate Trail route in Torres del Paine. Construction of the new trail will reduce environmental damage along a section of the iconic “W” trail in the Park which is suffering from over-use. Because of its exceptional ecological significance, Torres del Paine National Park was designated an International Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. Now, the increase in visitors from around the world who travel to see this amazing landscape is threatening the environment of this fragile and beautiful place.
The new trail passes through an area that can be 12-16” deep in water during wet periods, and muddy during better weather. Under these conditions, trails built on native soil quickly become mud bogs, resulting in trekkers hiking off the trail, creating parallel routes that become deeply rutted informal trails. These situations are not acceptable, as they result in an aesthetic mess, an erosion nightmare, and areas completely devoid of vegetation.
Length of boardwalk installed
Absence/presence of side trails in the Project area, indicating visitor satisfaction with the Boardwalk Project
Continued flourishing of the meadow surrounding the project area
Natural regeneration and restoration along the original trail which will be amenable to protection from the current overly intensive hiking traffic
Recruitment of park rangers and local volunteers participating in the project and in subsequent trail projects in the Park
Project updates coming soon.
MORE ABOUT Conservation VIP
“Conservation Volunteers International Program is thrilled to receive this grant from Adventure Travel Conservation Fund. For the past decade, ConservationVIP® has worked to improve trails in Torres del Paine National Park in order to protect this extraordinary and fragile environment and improve the experience of the many people who come from around the world to marvel at it. This grant will enable us to build a high-quality boardwalk in an environmentally sensitive manner on an important new trail in the Park.” Chris Braunlich, Director and CEO, Conservation Volunteers International Program (ConservationVIP)
Adopt a project Program
The ConservationVIP project was a part of our Adopt a Project Program and was funded by the generous support of REI Adventures. For REI, getting people outdoors is their mission, their goal, and their passion. And it's been that way since 1938! So whether you dream of cycling the winding roads of Zion National Park, exploring the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands, trekking through the Himalayas, or joining them for a close-to-home weekend getaway, they’re here to help you live that dream. With more than 150 different trips on every continent, you're sure to land on the trip of a lifetime, every time you travel with REI Adventures.