Photo: Parques Nacionales
Argentina celebrates November 6 as National Park Day (Día de los Parques Nacionales).
In 1903 Argentina became the third country in America to promote the development of protected areas. The history of protected areas began 114 years ago, when the expert Francisco Moreno yielded to the Nation three square leagues (about 7500 hectares) of his property located in the vicinity of Laguna Frias and Puerto Blest, west of Lake Nahuel Huapi, with the that they were “consecrated as a natural public park,” as he wrote in the letter of donation dated November 6, 1903.
The donation was accepted on February 11 of the following year establishing the primitive nucleus of the national protected areas through what was known as the “National Park of the South”. And thirty one years later it would be created in the lands donated by Moreno, which we now know as the Nahuel Huapi National Park.
Protected areas play important roles in the conservation of natural and cultural resources. Are sectors of the continental or marine territory of great value in terms of biodiversity and scenic beauty, they are limited in human activities, with a status of legal protection. Argentina has been a pioneer country in the region, and one of the first in the world, in terms of the creation of National Parks. Today it has 46 Protected Areas and the National Parks Administration continues to work with the commitment to double its surface, developing the present and planning the future in a sustainable manner.
A journey of history and nature
Extending the number of hectares of what was originally called Parque Nacional del Sur, the base of what we know today as the Nahuel Huapi National Park was constituted . Located in the provinces of Neuquén and Río Negro, it shelters a sample of the Andean ecosystems of northern Patagonia, important water basins and a varied cultural heritage that attracts travelers from the country and the world since historical times: it is one of the destinations of Patagonia most chosen throughout the year. Among its fauna it has singular presences such as the huemul, the huillín, the imperial cormorant, the duck of the torrents, the condor, the pudú and the gray gray fox; and some species only live in their environment such as the Chalhuaco frog, the tuco tuco colonial and the senecio of the Cerro Carbon. Its 717,261 hectares make this park a place with unique characteristics in coexistence with cities such as San Carlos de Bariloche and Villa La Angostura, a challenge for environmental conservation and human development.
A park with a jungle heart
In 1902, on behalf of the national government, Carlos Thays made a detailed study of the area of Iguazu Falls. As a corollary to his research, the landscape designer designed a 25,000-hectare National Park whose establishment was completed in 1934. Currently, the Iguazú National Park , the country’s most biodiverse park , covers an area of 67,620 hectares belonging to the Selva Paranaense ecoregion. Epiphytes, lianas and ferns together with species such as palo rosa and laurel abound in its exuberant jungle. While its fauna includes species such as toucans, coatis, cuises, corzuelas, waterfall swifts, jotes and water turtles. A list that is just a brief enumeration of the vast biodiversity of the Park that in 1984 was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site thanks to its exceptional universal value. Visited by more than one million tourists each year, in its Public Use area can be circuited circuits to observe the waterfalls of the wonderful waterfalls, reach the famous Devil’s Throat and even travel a few kilometers of the Lower Iguazú canyon in gomons.
The Park of the “end of the world”
The southernmost protected area of Argentina, the Tierra del Fuego National Park , was created in 1960. Located in the homonymous province, it conserves 68,909 hectares of Patagonian Forests. And it is the only place in our country where a forest reaches the edge of the sea, in the Beagle Channel. On the coast, Lapataia Bay, the only Argentine fjord in the channel, and Ensenada Zaratiegui stand out. To cross it, it has a network of 40-kilometer marked trails for walking visitation. Through them, through the lengas forest, you can reach different places of unique beauty: the turbal, the castorera and the Negra lagoon, among others.