South America

Farewell to Douglas Tompkins - the Protector of Patagonia

Rachel Williams

Rachel Williams  |  10 December 2015

On Tuesday, December 8, Douglas Tomkins died from severe hypothermia after his kayak capsized in General Carrerra Lake in the Patagonia region southern Chile.

 The millionaire founder of North Face was 72, and was kayaking with a small group of foreigners when waves flipped his boat.  He was pulled from the water and transferred to intensive care unit of the hospital in Coyhaique but later passed away.

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 A staunch environmental activist he owns hundreds of thousands of acres in Patagonia, and was involved in an ongoing project with the goal to protect a large area of rain forest by creating national parks.

 These parks include the Pumalin Park and the Patagonia Park among others. These are beautiful regions of untamed wilderness, magnificent mountains, huge glaciers, beautiful lakes, rivers and waterfalls and pristine landscapes. 

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Rachel from Viva Expeditions had the honour and the pleasure of meeting Douglas Tomkins in Chile in October 2015 at the Adventure Travel World Summit where he addressed attendees in Frutilla. "He was inspiring and showed clear dedication to his attempts to save the world, one park at a time" say Rachel.

Douglas Tompkins will be missed but hopefully his legacy will live on.  Learn more about Douglas Tomkins and his great work at

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