40 Tourism and Conservation Guides Accredited in Alerce Andino and Patagonia National Parks

Twenty-one residents of the Chamiza River Valley, adjacent to Alerce Andino National Park, and nineteen from Chile Chico, a town near Patagonia National Park, graduated a few days ago, officially becoming the first local guides specialized in the conservation of a national park in Chile. The course aimed to increase specialized human capital through professional training courses with the Sernatur standard.

“I am very happy because the training was very comprehensive. This empowers us more as a community to take charge of our national park, to protect it, care for it, conserve it, and showcase it in a more careful and prepared manner,” explained Cornelia Noelke, one of the graduates in the Los Lagos region.

For his part, Miguel Leiva, regional director of CONAF Los Lagos, stated, “The people living near the national park will have all the technical and economic benefits to develop tourism activities, becoming the front line of conservation, protecting our protected areas.”

The program, an initiative of Fundación Rewilding Chile, was supported by Sernatur and CONAF of both regions and facilitated by OTEC Alerce Outdoors in Los Lagos and by the Universidad Austral Campus Patagonia in the Aysén region.

The training process covered topics such as designing tourist experiences and narratives, flora, fauna, fungi and rewilding, geology, glaciology, and volcanology, the principles of LNT (Leave No Trace), logistics for tourist activities, heritage, archaeology, and local history, excellence in the quality of tourist services, and the execution of the WAFA course (advanced first aid for remote areas).

“We are very satisfied as a campus to continue sharing our experience and academic resources with the regional community in the field of sustainable tourism, which today materializes in this diploma for guides in protected wilderness areas,” said the Director of the Patagonia Campus of Universidad Austral de Chile, Prof. Mario Brito.

“This is a great boost to continue replicating this initiative in the Route of the Parks of Patagonia. We carried out this pilot program to understand the potential of national parks to activate local economies. Responsibly offering quality tourist experiences is essential for the conservation of our protected wilderness areas,” said Carolina Morgado, Executive Director of Fundación Rewilding Chile.

As an act of reciprocity for the opportunity to participate in this free course, the graduated guides committed to giving back to their community by facilitating and supporting educational activities of the Amigos de los Parques Program by Fundación Rewilding Chile.