Sustainable tourism, tips for visiting National Parks in Argentina

“International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development”. Thus was designated 2017 by the ONU, so it will be a special year for tourism in protected areas and especially for national parks, which assume the great challenge of consolidating themselves as spaces of environmental education.

Argentina has great diverse of nationals parks in their typology , the most visited are  National Park Iguazu, Nahuel Huapi National Park, The Glaciers National Park, Perito Moreno National Park , El Palmar National Park, Los Arrayanes National Park, Quebrada del Condorito National Park, Talampaya National Park, Lihué National Park, Sierra de las Quijadas, Los Cardones National Park.
Because they are protected spaces destined to the conservation of the natural and cultural diversity, the visit to the national parks have special characteristics. It is not just about recreational sites, since there are a number of rules of coexistence that visitors must respect.

Through time and the history of our country, we have been able to recognize in its extensive geography the lavishness of its lands. Its biological and cultural diversity is the heritage of the whole society. But there were great visionary men who, beyond contemplating and knowing the natural wonders of our territory, tried to preserve it as a legitimate legacy for future generations.
Francisco Pascasio Moreno, explorer, statesman and scientist, was one of the principal and pioneer architects in America. The expert Moreno gathered scientific information and geographical checks in the Patagonian area, which allowed, in 1902, to resolve conflicts bordering Chile and strengthen Argentine sovereignty over a territory of 40,000 km ². By his contribution, the government granted him the possession of land in the south. However, his spirit led him in 1903 to cede them to the Nation “for the best benefit of the present and future generations.” In the letter of donation, he emphasized: “I have come to request the location of an area of ​​three square leagues in order to be preserved as a public park.” In making this donation, I wish that the current physiognomy of the perimeter Altered and that works are not done more than those that facilitate comforts for the life of the visitor “.

Thus, in 1922 the National Park of the South was created and in 1934, next to the National Park Service were born the Parks of Iguazú and Nahuel Huapi, the latter located on the basis of the original National Park of the South. The gesture of the expert F. Moreno allowed Argentina to become the third country in America to own a National Park.
At present, the National Parks Administration is the government agency in charge of protected natural areas. In terms of conservation and management of these areas, both the provinces and the nation were able to complement efforts. Proof of this is the creation of the Campo de los Alisos National Parks in 1995, Los Cardones and Quebrada del Condorito in 1996, Talampaya in 1997, San Guillermo in 1999, Mburucuyá and Copo in 1998, as well as those in the process of being Created.

The objectives of the management of National Parks are not only to guarantee the conservation of the natural heritage, but also to radiate sustainable management practices and to present a national and international tourist attraction, in addition to providing direct and indirect environmental services Of incalculable value to the whole of society. The goals are defined in terms of biodiversity conservation, habitat protection of endangered species, preservation of cultural diversity, protection of paleontological and archaeological sites, and the promotion of education and research.

Protected Natural Areas are not considered as “conservation islands” but as part of the regional context. If not, these environments would probably be left to the laws of the market and the greater or lesser “ecological” awareness of political and economic agents would suffer the constant deterioration and progressive loss of their natural and cultural resources. Within these spaces, the natural landscape is one of its main values ​​and is organized under criteria of recreation and tourism, becoming a model on how to integrate public use to in-situ conservation strategies

Informing park rangers about hiking, lighting fires in designated places or respecting flora and fauna are some of the basic rules on protected sites.

So, if this summer you intend to visit one or more of the 46 protected national areas of Argentina, take these basic recommendations into account:

Roads. Before leaving, inquire about the state and transitability of the routes, because the internal roads could have wells and loose gravel. I drove with extreme caution, because it is frequent the presence of pedestrians and animals, and respect the limits of speed in internal roads: 40 km / h.
Camping. Acampá only in places enabled, respects to others allowing that the sounds of the nature prevail, and remember that the entrance to the parks with pets is not allowed.
Waste. After a tour or walk, take your trash in a bag and deposit it in the baskets or in the appropriate places when you reach the nearest town.
Fire. Make fire only in the enabled places. Never leave the fire unattended and when you leave the stove, turn it off with plenty of water; Never with earth. If you smoke, turn off the cigarette and never throw away the cigarette butts; Once off, I have them as with the rest of the waste.
Trekking. Before leaving, inquire about the state of the path that you want to go. It is important that you never abandon roads or take shortcuts. Choose your route based on your physical abilities and save energy for the return. Wear appropriate clothing and enough water. For your safety, it is advisable to walk accompanied, and it is obligatory to notify to the section of Ranger or to the Nearest Visitor Center about your plan of walk.
Trees and branches. On windy or stormy days, avoid staying under trees with dry branches, exposed roots or sloping trunk.
Insects. The “yellow jacket” bite can be risky for allergy sufferers. Before the appearance of this wasp, I maintain the calm, since they can attack if they feel attacked. If the insect rests on your body, do not make sudden movements; I remain calm and quiet until he leaves.
Flora, fauna and heritage. Do not chase or feed wild animals. Always observe them at a safe distance. Do not cut or damage vegetation. Just take pictures and carry only memories.
Lakes. Pay attention to the indications of the cartelería; In most beaches there are no lifeguards, and the Patagonian lakes are cold water.

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