Just days before the total solar eclipse on December 14, Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker and National Assets Minister Julio Isamit have announced the list of protected wilderness areas that will remain open for this astronomical phenomenon, which will be visible right across the Araucanía Region and in part of the Los Ríos Region.
The Nahuelbuta, Tohualca, Huerquehue and Conguillío National Parks, the China Muerta National Reserve and the Cierro Ñielol National Monument are among the protected wilderness areas that will be open for the eclipse, an event that will not occur in Chile again until 2413.
Minister Walker explained that the areas are already open and accessible. Prevention measures have been put in place aimed at visitors and park rangers. These measures comply with the Protocol for Opening Protected Wilderness Areas, which incorporates Health Ministry guidelines.
“This is a historic event. The solar eclipse on December 14 is significant because there will not be another for 400 years. Coverage will be close to 100% in the Araucanía region, nearly 99% in the Los Ríos Region and 94% in the Bíobío Region. We’ve therefore been getting ready. The Agriculture and National Assets ministries have ten units, parks and national reserves in the Araucanía Region and we’ve been making preparations so that people can visit the parks in an orderly fashion,” said Minister Antonio Walker.
The ministers also announced the launch of a new National Parks Dashboard that provides information regarding the location, operating hours, maximum capacity, online reservations, and percentages of visibility in Chile's national parks.
Minister Isamit explained, “we’ve worked with the Agriculture Ministry to develop a new platform so that all Chileans know which parks they can visit and under what conditions. The national dashboard will show the current stage of the reopening plan for each national park in Chile (...). We’ve developed a special function within the dashboard for the eclipse. When people visit parques.visorterritorial.cl, they will also see the percentage of eclipse visibility in each of Chile’s national parks so they can enjoy the eclipse with their families in safety and close to nature.”
Minister Isamit added, “the National Assets Ministry manages 46 million hectares that belong to all Chileans. Of those, 16 million are State-protected wilderness areas. We want to showcase these places so people can discover the wonders of Chile. The new dashboard shows the municipalities with access points to national parks. The application also includes a direct link to Waze to help visitors find their way to the park entrances.”
The Executive Director of the National Forestry Service (CONAF), Rodrigo Munita, explained that CONAF’s prevention and deployment plan begins on December 7. The plan limits park capacity for eclipse viewing to ensure the safety of visitors and park rangers at the different protected wilderness areas managed by the institution.
“CONAF has worked hard, in collaboration with the National Assets, Tourism and Health Undersecretaries, which regulate the projected health conditions and determine the level of quarantine restrictions in each municipality surrounding the eclipse area. Given the number of people attending, we recommend that people use the platforms to book their visit early, thereby making their purchase and visit safer and more enjoyable,” said CONAF Director Rodrigo Munita.