Currently, the Park’s conservation model is managed through a non-profit organization called Fundación Parque Ahuenco, which was established in 2012. In addition to the active participation of its members and the board of directors, the active involvement of the park rangers is relevant. In addition to their work, Ahuenco has, on multiple occasions, received professional who wish to do their internship at Ahuenco; they come from careers related to forestry, environmental conservation, and ecotourism.
The conservation model of the Ahuenco Park is collaborative in nature and would not be possible without the alliances that are maintained with the various organizations of the neighbors of Chepu. Among them are the Fishermen’s Union “Mar Adentro”, the “Alla Mapu” School, the Association of Tour Operators, the Territorial Committee, and the Chepu Traditions Group.
In addition, the conservation of Ahuenco Park has been linked to the development of learning spaces. In this way, it has established itself as a space for research, scientific development, ecotourism and environmental education. That is why over the years several researchers have visited the park to study Darwin’s fox, Humboldt and Magellanic penguins, and coastal birds.
Our main capital are its members, which are made up of a diverse and open group of people committed to the conservation of the biodiversity of this wonderful place, located in the heart of the Piuché mountain range (last southern presence of the coastal mountain range), a high priority conservation site.
Our conservation objectives are:
Environmental context of Ahuenco Park
Cordillera de Piuché
Ahuenco Park is located on the north-western slope of the Piuché Mountain Range, on the open coast of Chiloé Island, and is the gateway to one of the best preserved areas of the Coastal Mountain Range in Chile.
Biodiversity in Ahuenco
The main objective of the park is the conservation of its terrestrial and marine ecosystems, which are located in front of the Pacific Ocean and are of great environmental value. This diversity results from Ahuenco’s particularly favorable conditions, which include mild temperatures, proximity to the sea, and high rainfall.
These are characterized by large extensions of evergreen forests. The Chiloé lauriphyllous forest is characterized by the coastal olivillo forest, large extensions of unaltered adult tepuales, and the tepa-tenío- mañío forest, together with second growth forests
Coastal marine ecosystem
The richness of the coastal marine biodiversity and the sustainable use of the resources associated with them reflect Ahuenco and Mar Adentro Syndicate joint conservation plan. These ecosystems, which cover up to two nautical miles, ensure the conditions for the development and growth of abalone, which is sustainably extracted by the Syndicate on the basis of extraction quotas set by SERNAPESCA on the basis of annual monitoring.
The park has a network of micro-watersheds dominated by the Toigoy and Lar rivers and various streams that originate in the interior of the forests, as well as small lagoons such as El Mallín. These ecosystems are vital for maintaining the balance and support for the coastal marine ecosystems and are home to highly endemic invertebrate species.
Darwin's Fox, Gúiña and Pudú
These animals are some of the star protagonists of Ahuenco Park’s fauna and they—or sometimes their tracks, can be seen, in the Park. As several scientists and researchers have said, the health of the ecosystem in this area of the Piuché mountain range makes it a “Noah’s ark” for these mammals.
Humboldt and Magellanic Penguin
The Ahuenco penguin colony is one of the few places in the world where both the Humboldt and Magellanic penguins can be seen, which occurs between the months of September and February. The Park restricts access to and protects this area, which is one of the southernmost nesting sites for the Humboldt Penguin.
Archeological remains of early occupation at Dunas de Toi Goy
There is an archaeological heritage at Ahuenco that shows the early occupation from 6500/6000 years BP to the end of the 17th century, and is located on the coastal area around the mouth of the Chepu River. We safeguard these areas and archaeological sites for scientific research and for future generations.
The Chepu township
Is located to the south of the city of Ancud, on the northern banks of the river of the same name. Historically, it is part of the so-called Colonia Coipomó, and since the 1980s has been “becoming independent” from Colonia Coipomó, which is located 8 kilometers to the east. Around 90 people live permanently in Chepu, and include several families who have been linking their lives through marriages, being godparents and godchildren, and through joint economic activities. Its population lives mostly from subsistence agriculture and livestock, management of benthic resources (abalone) and the harvesting of shellfish and seaweed, firewood extraction and, lately and with great strength, tourism. The inhabitants of Chepu are organized in different ways with respect to their work. Economically, the main organization is the Sindicato de Pescadores Artesanales “Mar Adentro”. There is also a group of Tourist Operators, the group of boatmen of the Chepu River, the Neighborhood Council of Chepu, and the Rural Drinking Water Committee, among others. The Alla Mapu School stands out, with an educational project focused on the environment, which receives many children from Ancud, who travel daily to Chepu for their education. Chepu is the closest village to the Ahuenco Park.
Chiloé National Park
it has a surface of 42.567 hectares and was created in 1982. The park spans the counties of Castro, Chonchi, and Dalcahue. Paleontological sites in the park stand out, and border with Huilliche communities located at the southern part of the park (Cucao, Chanquín and Huentemó communities), which keep their traditions alive. The Lar river marks the southern border of Ahuenco, which is the northern borders of the northern sector of the Chiloé National Park. This sector has an area of 7,800 hectares, which together with Ahuenco form a continuous conservation area totaling 9,000 hectares.
ORGANIZATIONS WE WORK WITH
Social organizations working with us
Sindicato de Pescadores "Mar Adentro"
The Sindicato de Pescadores “Mar Adentro” is one of the most important organizations in the territory, as well as one of the most successful organizations of this type in the whole of Chiloé. We have established protocols and cooperation agreements with this syndicate, which have been of great benefit to both parties. Since 2001 “Mar Adentro” has responsible for several Benthic Resources Management Areas, which cover a total surface of 500 hectares. They are located along most of the coastal edge of the Ahuenco Park. For the sustainable exploitation of the abalone, with an average extraction authorized by SERNAP of more than 400,000 units per year, this Syndicate has established very efficient harvesting rules and procedures. “Mar Adentro” patrols its management area by having four of its members live and patrol the areas during 5 day shifts.
"Alla Mapu" School
The educational project of this private subsidized school has a strong environmental education component. Its impact and quality at the community level is demonstrated by the fact that a significant percentage of students come every day from the city of Ancud, and are driven by their own teachers. In other words, they have managed to change the paradigm of rural-urban migration. Their supporters and teaching staff are an active part of the social fabric of Chepu.
Association of Tour Operators
The Ahuenco Park, through its managers and members, has actively participated in the formation and operation of this Association, which brings together neighbors who provide tourist services such as accommodation, food, recreational fishing, and river trips on the Chepu River, among others. The Association has developed initiatives in signage, training, and advertising of Chepu as a sustainable tourist destination. Some of its members have benefited from the FNDR project “Paisaje de Conservación”, which was originally promoted by members of the Ahuenco Park Foundation, allowing them to improve the quality of services offered to tourists and visitors.
In order to establish a Territorial Management Plan for Chepu, its social organizations and with the participation of the Ahuenco Park, we elaborated a proposal for participatory development. We defined a portfolio of projects and initiatives for the territory, which was presented to local and regional authorities and contained the dreams for a better future and life for the community. This exercise resulted in a FNDR project to establish a Conservation Landscape, the formalization of the Nature Sanctuary, and the ongoing process to establish a Coastal Marine Protected Area of Multiple Use.
Agrupación de la Feria Costumbrista
For several years now, the traditional “Feria Costumbrista de Chepu” has been held on the last weekend of February, with the participation of social organizations and neighbors who offer the typical dishes of the area, handcrafts, recreational activities, and environmental education. The Ahuenco Park manages one of its booths. Prior to the pandemic we supported the Fair by sponsoring activities that rescue the traditional rural gastronomy of Chiloé as well as environmental workshops.