Area: 354,601 acres
Founded: June 27, 2017
Ecosystem: Aysén deciduous forest
Conservation priority: the huemul (South Andean deer)
Estimated carbon sequestration: 62.1 million metric tons
Location: Aysén Region
Cerro Castillo, one of the most striking and beautiful mountains in Chilean Patagonia, is the namesake and main attraction of this park, which also features a world-renowned trekking circuit. Hanging glaciers form deep turquoise lagoons, and the park’s lenga and ñirre forests offer refuge to the endangered huemul, as well as other emblematic species like the puma and the Magellan woodpecker.
Named a national reserve in 1970, Cerro Castillo was recategorized a National Park as part of the agreement between the Chilean government and Tompkins Conservation in 2018.
Deciduous forests dominate the park, notably lenga and ñirre, though they’re also home to evergreen species like the coigüe de Magallanes. Notros, calafates (Magellan barberry), chilcos (hardy fuchsia), and chauras are just a few of the shrub species you can find here. Beginning in November, you can also spot endemic wild orchids.
Cerro Castillo National Park is one of the endangered huemul’s key refuges, and is also home to the puma, chingue (Molina’s hog-nosed skunk), foxes, and other species. Condors and black-chested buzzard eagles fly over the park’s magnificent peaks, and in the forest, you can find birds like the thorn-tailed rayadito, the Magellanic woodpecker, the chucao tapaculo, and the churrín del sur (Magellanic tapaculo).
Rewilding in Cerro Castillo
Cerro Castillo plays a key role in the National Huemul Corridor, a conservation project we helped to promote.
Near the park’s northern sector, you can find Las Horquetas Valley, where we acquired land now dedicated to the conservation of the huemul (South Andean deer), an endangered species. This area is an important wintering habitat that offers huemules easier access to food, along with providing connectivity to different huemul groups that use it as a corridor. Currently, we’re working with Conaf (part of the Chilean government) on a huemul monitoring program, and we also hope to establish a rescue and rehabilitation center for this endangered species soon.
Over the medium-term, we plan to donate these lands to the state to expand the national park, thereby further consolidating this protected area and ensuring its preservation as a key habitat for this species’ survival.