Our annual fund drive is about halfway complete, and while we’re on track for a fantastic year of giving, we need your help! If 100 more people make a donation, 2011 will set the record for the most fund drive donors ever.
As our followers know, the park will open to the public at the beginning of 2012, and we have a busy year ahead of trail-building, campground-constructing, wildlife-recovering, and more. Your help will launch us into our biggest summer season yet. Here are ten good reasons to support the Patagonia National Park project:
1. Wilderness for all
Times are tough, yes. but look at the big picture: now more than ever, it’s important that we protect these natural spaces and make them available to everyone. No one says it better than Nicholas Kristof in his New York Times op-ed: “Gaps between rich and poor have been growing, but our national lands are a rare space of utter democracy: the poorest citizen gets resplendent views that even a billionaire is not allowed to buy.”
2. Fight the clutter! Give in someone’s name
Know anyone who’s sick of all the stuff that piles up during the holidays? Who wants to turn away from, not embrace, overconsumption? A contribution to CP in his or her name could be the perfect gift. No matter the size, this is literally a gift that keeps on giving.
3. This land is your land
Once you’ve decided you want to donate to a worthy cause, you might find yourself wondering, why Patagonia, why not somewhere in our own country? Take a step back and see that the planet is yours, ours, everyone’s to protect. As CP board member Yvon Chouinard says, Patagonia is one of the few really wild places left on Earth, and we as a species must act to save it.
4. Your gift goes 100% towards the park
Unlike in many non-profits, charities, and other NGOs, every cent that you donate goes directly towards constructing the park, never to administrative or overhead costs.
5. Make history
Bruce Babbitt, U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton, just visited the park and declared, “Patagonia National Park will be the Yellowstone of South America.” And you can be part of creating it. We invite you to play a key role in this landmark project, which millions will visit in years to come.
6. Climate change is a reality; saving ecosystems is a must
As a recent New York Times article details, carbon emissions made their largest-ever jump in 2010, despite efforts to curb climate change. Myriad natural disasters and changes in weather patterns make it clear that climate change is happening now.
So what can we do? Plenty–and saving wild places, where nature has a shot at coping, becomes increasingly critical. Patagonia National Park will protect 650,000 acres, an area the size of Rhode Island, giving whole populations of wildlife a chance to thrive.
7. Recover endangered species
The future park protects one of Earth’s largest remaining populations of huemul deer, a rugged, sturdy animal well-adapted to mountain living but ill-suited to competition from introduced livestock. On the Chilean national shield, the huemul represents a national priority for conservation. Transforming Estancia Valle Chacabuco from a degraded sheep ranch to the heart of Patagonia National Park marks a key stride in changing the future of this species.
8. We’re restoring, not just protecting, wilderness
Truly a story for the 21st century: with a bit of help, nature can restore itself. We’re learning this lesson year-by-year, as we witness how fast overgrazed grasses grow taller, thicker and healthier. Herds of guanacos, formerly fenced out of all the best land in the Chacabuco Valley, are returning en force–any park visitor is guaranteed to see herds galloping and meandering along. Ecological damage can be undone, but it takes time and money.
9. We’re building things the right way, not the cheap and easy way
A park needs visitors, and visitors need trails to hike, places to sleep, somewhere to learn, and maybe even a spot to eat. We design and build our facilities to be elegant, comfortable, respectful to the natural beauty surrounding them, and ecologically low-impact.
10. You get what you give
Ultimately, this park will be for you and your fellow wilderness enthusiasts. The park pre-opens to the public this month and, with your help, will continue to grow into a full national park in the coming years. Your gift of any size will come back to you tenfold when you finally visit the unique and rugged landscape you helped to protect. We can’t wait to see you there!
So, are you convinced yet? If so, please do make a!