We are a non-profit organization that obtained legal status in 2009 by decree of the Ministry of Justice. In the passing of the state budget of the previous year the decree stated that this foundation would be created to continue leading the implementation of the public environmental education program and “Sendero de Chile” ecotourism, until then executed directly by the former National Commission of the Environment (CONAMA) from 2001.
The Fall and Rebirth
In 2016, the management priorities of the Ministry of the Environment changed and resource allocations to finance programs of environmental education in contact with nature were eliminated. As a result, the foundation had to look for alternate sources to finance its operations.
Currently, we are executing two programs financed by Innovo Corfo that aim to strengthen the work of CONAF in 5 protected wilderness areas especially in regard to visitor interests and creating this new form of touristic hosts. This project will take the form of microenterprises -expected to be in operation in 2018- authorized by CONAF to offer a variety of activities for visitors including cultural and natural hiking, environmental education, explorations, relaxation and meditation, theater, storytelling, and music.
The areas of work include La Campana National Park, Clarillo River National Reserve, Radal Siete Tazas National Park, Villarrica National Park, and Vicente Perez Rosales National Park and initiating local enterprises in Hijuelas, Olmué, Pirque, Molina, Radal, Pucón, Curarrehue y Puerto Varas.
With resources from CORFO’s Transform Tourism program we are designing a new model of tourism management for protected wilderness areas that involves the revision of its current concessional system and other modalities of public private partnerships applied in recent years by CONAF. This includes study and comparison of other international systems and finally the proposition of a new system that improves the existing one and facilitates the incorporation of local actors in the provision of ecotourism services in the areas.
With state funds from the Presidency of the Republic we have invested in improving the facilities of Vivero Cumbre to transform it into an ecotourism and environmental education center open to the community that offers a distinct variety of natural and cultural hiking and agro-ecology programs, in the form of courses and workshops, environmental education activities, volunteering, and internships in order to greater develop Metropolitan Park for the centennial celebration.
In addition, with resources from the Ministry of Social Development, through the program Choose to Live Healthy, we are developing an experimental program at Vivero Cumbre of hiking and agro-ecology for 5 centers that are specialized to the interests of vulnerable populations in Santiago. Also with resources from the Environmental Protection Fund and Ministry of the Environment, we are financing the operations of Sur Vivo Gallery in Puerto Varas until 2018 to maintain and diversify the programming of environmental education and hiking activities that we offer from this center.
In February 2018, we created Sendero de Chile Experiences, a collaborating company of the initiative responsible for the commercialization of our developed ecotourism activities as well as workshops and cultural-artistic events at Vivero Cumbre.