The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, announced the creation of the Río Clarillo and Salar del Huasco National Parks on Monday in a move designed to reinforce his government’s commitment to conserving flora and fauna.
“Today more than ever amid so many threats to nature and our lives, we have to make a moral commitment to care for and protect our environment,” the President stated at a ceremony held to commemorate National Parks Day at the new Río Clarillo Park. He was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker, Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt, National Assets Minister Julio Isamit and Metropolitan Region Governor Felipe Guevara.
Created in 1982, the 10,185-hectare Río Clarillo Reserve in Pirque will become the first national park in the Metropolitan Region.
The decision to change the category of the reserve was among the initiatives of the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) so that it would be managed as part of the National System of State Protected Wildlife Areas (SNASPE).
The measure covers the entire reserve and will be a fundamental contribution to efforts to progress with consolidating the National System of State Protected Wildlife Areas in the central part of Chile. It will make it possible to effectively conserve a sample of the Mediterranean ecosystems of the pre-Andean and Andean areas in the Metropolitan Region, safeguarding their biodiversity and evolutionary processes.
The reserve currently has seven footpaths stretching over 24 kilometers and receives 100,000 visits per year under normal circumstances.
For its part, the Salar del Huasco wetland in the Tarapacá Region is an important nesting area for Chilean flamingos. It attracts a wide range of aquatic birds such as the Andean flamingo, James’s flamingo, Andean geese, Andean gulls, rheas and ducks.
The site also has significant cultural value due to the presence of archaeological remains and heritage sites.
“We are privileged to have such wildlife in our country,” the President said.
Chile is at the cutting edge when it comes to protecting its natural heritage. Around 25% of Chile’s land surface is covered by some form of protection, while around 43% of Chile’s ocean is included in a conservation category.
The country has 105 protected wilderness areas: 41 national parks, 46 national reserves and 18 natural monuments; and over 430 permanent park rangers.