UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) —Chile is celebrating the designation of five new national parks and the expansion of three current ones.
Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, signed decrees on Jan. 29, saying donated land would become national parks.
This move will increase parklands by more than 40,400 square kilometers.
About 10 percent of the land was donated by U.S. philanthropists Doug Tompkins and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins.
McDivitt Tompkins worked in conservation for 25 years.
Her husband founded the outdoor brands North Face and Esprit before he died in 2015 in Chile.
Their organization, Tompkins Conservation, claims the newly protected lands amount to the size of Switzerland.
Bachelet called it a “unprecedented preservation effort.”
This donation is believed to be the largest private donation of land from a private source to a country.
The land will protect forests, plants and one of the world’s most pure reservoirs of water.