The Council will ensure the protection of the Alerce Costero National Park, managed by CONAF, and the Conservancy’s Valdivian Coastal Reserve (VCR), and will seek to ensure their full development as well as that of the surrounding communities. The initiative, led by The Nature Conservancy and CONAF and sponsored by Chile’s GEF-SIRAP Program will protect 74.000 hectares of the world’s last millennial temperate rainforests, and 35 kilometers of coastal seawaters.
The council is made up of representatives from civil society, and the public and private sectors from the localities of La Union and Corral, which is where the National Park and the Reserve are found, including local government, the two protected areas, fishing unions, the Chilean Army and Navy, and public services such as the SERNATUR tourism agency, the Department of Roads and the Ministry of Environment.
José Carter, regional director of CONAF Los Rios, explained that with the Council is an essential first step in advancing the inclusion of all stakeholders interested in the progress of the national park and the VCR. “This is very important, as both play a facilitating role for social and cultural development of our territory".
Alfredo Almonacid, Manager of the Conservancy’s VCR, described the new Council as a “support for the development of these sites, that will guide and coordinate the many projects that will benefit local residents and communities in a way that is harmonious with the conservation objectives of both protected areas”.
The Director of the Environment Ministry at a local level Daniel del Campo emphasized the importance of the Council, noting that "in our role overseeing public protected areas we consider it essential to generate entities such as these that bring together all actors, including the inhabitants of the sites. Protected areas are for all citizens and they should not be enclosed, especially for those living in the surrounding areas".
For Nora Reyes, a resident of the Alerce Costero National Park and representative of the indigenous community Pilpilcahuin, these events are “very important for us and our needs."