A Little About Our Sister Organization: La Organización De Turismo
You may have heard us mention our Sister Organization: La Organización de Turismo, Propietarios y Amigos del Valle de Cochamó. Much of what we do at Friends of Cochamó is geared towards helping and supporting La Organización.
Here’s a little bit more about who they are, and what they do!
Who we are
La Organización brings together residents, tour operators, horse guides, property owners, hikers, climbers, and friends of the Cochamó Valley, united by the love for this unique location on the planet, famous for its fabulous granite walls, beautiful forests and clean waters.
The Chilean-based NGO’s goal is to protect the valley and its natural resources. Cochamó is home to many endangered and endemic species. For example, the Darwin frog which is in danger of extinction. Also, the Patagonian vizcacha is at risk and the ancient alerces (Fitzroya Cupressoides), age-old beech forests, as well as a host of other species. The Organización wants to create a collaborative protected area, promote responsible and sustainable tourism, and improve the local economy while empowering locals and visitors
Why The Organización got together…
Cochamó Valley is not a park or national reserve. Approximately 62% of the valley is privately owned. A few years ago, Cochamó was only visited by few locals and some visitors from other parts of the world. During the last years, the beauty of the valley has attracted hordes of visitors, giving rise to problems that could permanently affect the natural environment. Some of these are illegal camping, saturation of existing campsites, campfires in unauthorized sites, trail erosion, felling of native species, water pollution, accidents and waste disposal issues.
We have faced these issues without any government support and managed to install a system for supervising the access to the Cochamó Valley. The community came together, made a decision and set common goals. They opened up the valley to everyone, but in order to access it, the thousands of visitors must make prior reservations based on the availability of camping sites, fully aware of the standards we propose for protecting the environment.
We are working on several parallel projects, ranging from posting signs throughout the valley, to waste disposal management (a serious problem in the valley), as well as the approval of composting toilet systems, which are currently prohibited under Chilean law. We hold regular meetings with technicians and government authorities and aim to influence the decisions affecting the valley.
We are an organization comprising less than 30 individuals, who have achieved much in very little time:
- Stipulate maximum capacities in camping sites throughout the Valley.
- A media publicity campaign promoting environmental protection and the need to make reservations for accessing the valley.
- A sole reservations, logistics and environmental information web site:www.reservasvallecochamo.cl
- An access control checkpoint at the entrance to the valley.
- The first park ranger in charge of a team of volunteers was selected from among many applicants.
- A collaborative network between the different stakeholders in the valley, other conservation organizations and government agencies.
In spite of our dedication, work and love for the valley, we need more financial resources to fully achieve our goals. Please help us protect the valley!
How can you help?