A conservation project made possible by fly fishing travelers
In a remote northern corner of Region XI, the region of Aysén, a little gem, Laguna Escondida, is hidden. While the area around nearby Lago Verde was greatly devastated by forest fires in the 1940s, the area around Laguna Escondida remained completely untouched. When we crossed the lake for the first time in the spring of 2011, we were the first ones who ever did that. The natural beauty completely overwhelmed us. Not a single sign of human intervention; we were only surrounded by ancient old forests, crystal clear rivers, snow capped mountains, glaciers, birds which had never seen a human being. But also by plants, lichen and mosses we did not know. While paddling our canoe accross the lake, we were wondering what was hidden below us. It made us realize that there is so much to discover, but also that we had to be very prudent. But we cannot wait to reveal the “hidden secrets” of the area and to secure them to future generations.
An expedition to the Laguna brings you back thousands of years; back to the time that the nature was still “natural”. It is very interesting to see the rapid change in vegetation while hiking up the valley of the river; from the damaged landscapes of Lago Verde to the virgin forest of Laguna Escondida.
Struck by this natural beauty we decided to make it our life project to protect this unique environment. Over the past 10 years we acquired a vast amount of land along the Escondido River and around the namesake lake. We now are the proud owners of almost 2,000 acres of land adjacent to the Quelat National Park, connecting Lago Verde with Laguna Escondido. We reached an agreement with Chile´s Forestry Department, the CONAF, about how to protect the area and how to make it accessible for sustainable tourism. Over the past years we built trails, small bridges, staircases, platforms etc. as well as a camp accommodating up to 6 visitors. Together with our friends Michael and Connie, the owners of an adjacent, almost 10,000 acres, property “El Cacique Blanco”, we are working on a greater local conservation project in which we are including the local community of Lago Verde.
We made it a goal that at least 10% of all income generated at our main lodge, The Patagonian BaseCamp Lodge is dedicated to this conservation project and that over the coming years The EscondidoProject and the programs we run there will become a stand-alone operation next to our existing BaseCamp programs. In that way all our visitors can see, feel and enjoy the impact of their visit (and with that, their financial support) on the conservation of Patagonia.