Nature reserves to enjoy and conserve in Argentina

July 19, 2013


Viewpoint in National Park Talampaya, in La Rioja province

National Park Talampaya courtesy

  • Work is being carried out to improve paths, lookouts and facilities in nine national parks in Argentina.
  • The goal is to strengthen key areas to conserve the country’s natural and archeological heritage.
  • In 2012, more than million people visited Argentina’s parks.

“Two years ago, I decided to visit all the nature reserves in my country. My first stop was the Perito Moreno National Park. Along with the glacier, I loved seeing the lakes and woods,” said 27-year-old Buenos Aires native, María Eugenia.

National parks are one of the best ways to enjoy nature in Argentina. In recent years, local and foreign tourists have demonstrated renewed interest in these protected areas. In 2012 alone, there were 3,276,000 visitors to the parks.

Argentina has 36 national parks covering nearly four million hectares. Between 2003 and 2012, these areas grew by 24 percent, or 900,000 hectares. In addition, eight new parks were established and over 400,000 hectares of marine environments incorporated.

Through the project Sustainable Natural Resource Management, the World Bank supports the National Park Administration with a series of investments in basic infrastructure, including housing for park rangers, information centers and research facilities, as well as improving access routes, lookouts and paths.

“National parks are created for conservation, and achieving conservation requires infrastructure work,” said Adriana Orlando, Director of the Talampaya National Park in the province of La Rioja. “For example, in our park, with the work to collect and store water we ’won't have to invest in trucks to transport water to the park any longer; with the new housing, we can hire more park rangers and better protect our heritage,” she added.

" National parks are created for conservation, and achieving conservation requires infrastructure work. "

Adriana Orlando

Director of the Talampaya National Park in the province of La Rioja.

Currently, visitors can experience improvements to the following parks:

Talampaya (La Rioja): UNESCO named this park a World Heritage Site in acknowledgement of its rich paleontological and archeological resources. It is home tovaluable species such as the guanaco, puma, turtle and numerous reptiles. On the Triassic Path, visitors can see replicas of the dinosaurs who roamed the area millions of years ago.

Sierra de las Quijadas (San Luis): This park has an interesting mix of arid Chaco and mountainous areas, which increases the diversity of its fauna and flora. Armadillos, roe deer, maras, foxes, guanacos and pumas inhabit this extremely arid region.

Campo de los Alisos (Tucumán): This park has vegetation typical of the Yungas rainforest and the high Andes. It is the natural habitat of endangered species such as the Andean condor, the ocelot and the Northern Andean deer. It is also home to one of the few examples of Inca architecture south of Lake Titicaca, the Ciudacita or Pueblo Viejo.

Los Cardones (Salta): This is one of the landmarks of the Calchaquíes valleys. It protects native communities of the mountains, pre-puna and the high Andes. The mountain cactus is typical in this area while fauna includes the red fox, the cactus woodpecker and the guanaco.

In addition, new installations will open in Santa Cruz in the coming months. These include the Natural Petrified Forest Monument, which preserves the country’s main Jurassic-era forest, and the Perito Moreno Park, where valuable species live among the steppes and Patagonian forests, such as the South Andean Deer, the macá tobiano and the orange chinchillón.

Three other national parks complete the list of protected areas where work is scheduled to begin on housing, visitor’ centers and footpaths, among others. These are Río Pilcomayo (Formosa), Calilegua (Jujuy) and Tierra del Fuego.

The project also works to improve park management plans, train staff and develop sustainable activities to promote the increased participation of local communities.