Wyss Campaign for Nature partner permanently protects 82,500 acres inside Aconquija National Park

A leading Argentine conservation organization has made significant progress towards protecting and guaranteeing permanent public access to one of Argentina’s newest national parks. In just the past several months, Fundación Flora y Fauna Argentina, in partnership with the Wyss Campaign for Nature, has purchased and protected five properties totaling 82,500 acres within the boundary of Aconquija National Park and Reserve - including 15,000 acres protected today with the purchase of the Laguna del Tesoro property.

The Aconquija National Park and Reserve, which was created on July 4, 2018 by the Argentine Congress, will ultimately protect 178,000 acres in Tucumán Province. But there’s a catch: while the entire area was designated as a national reserve which provides some level of protection for the area, much of the land within the boundary of the new park was privately owned at the time of designation. In order to protect the lands as a national park and open permanent access, the lands needed to be purchased from willing sellers and donated to Argentina’s National Parks Administration.

At the time of its designation, seven parcels of private property were included within the boundaries of the new park. The national reserve designation meant that the lands were immediately protected from subdivision, mining, and other extractive uses, but the property remained privately owned, and therefore not accessible by the public. As these properties are acquired by Fundación Flora y Fauna Argentina – prior to today, four properties had been purchased – they are direct deeded to the National Parks Administration and immediately upgraded to national park status. The fifth property, Laguna del Tesoro , which was acquired today, will be deeded to the National Parks Administration within the next few months.

There are still two additional private parcels remaining to be acquired before Aconquija National Park and Reserve is made whole. Once completed, the park will protect a critically important mountain chain in north central Argentina, conserve remnants of the most southerly known Inca settlement, and provide nearby communities with rural development and tourism opportunities. What’s more, the park protects critical mountain glaciers that provide freshwater to downstream communities and support Tucumán Province’s world class lemon and blueberry industries.

Upon its launch, the Wyss Campaign for Nature pledged $22 million to formally establish the Aconquija National Park. To date, the Wyss Campaign for Nature has invested nearly $15 million in this project. Stay tuned for more announcements as the Wyss Campaign for Nature continues working with local partners to protect parks and public lands across Argentina.

Greg Zimmerman