Following the sudden death of her philanthropist husband late last year, Kris Tompkins, the US conservationist and former CEO of outdoor clothing brand Patagonia Inc, has begun talks with Chilean government over the donation of a vast nature reserve in southern Chile.
Tompkins is the widow of North Face founder and Esprit co-founder Doug Tompkins, who died in December in a kayaking accident. The well-known adventurer invested around $375 million in South American conservation efforts, particularly in Chile and Argentina.
The couple had purchased 2-million acres across Argentina and Chile for conservation purposes, creating five national parks with another five to go.
Tompkins has offered close to 990,000 acres to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in a meeting that took place in January, with negotiations expected to take about two years, according to the BBC.
“Key habitat is a masterpiece. Just like a Picasso, or a Turner, or a Hopper painting, these are masterpieces,” Kristine Tompkins said in an interview published in CampdenFO last year.
“People think that the 2-million acres we’ve purchased and put into permanent conservation is a lot of land, and by most standards it is; but it’s a drop in a very large bucket when you think about the number of hectares that are being converted for use on the other side,” Tompkins said at the time, adding: “There cannot be too many conservationists in the world, and in fact the contrary is true: there are painfully few.”
Speaking to the BBC regarding the current negotiations, Tompkins said the process would take a long time. "We won't be deciding the timing and I know there will be a compromise both sides will have to make to work through all the stages that will be necessary.”