A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Cruising the Nile, Egypt
10th April 2012
Appeals against the construction of a hydro dam in Chile's Patagonia have been rejected, leaving many concerned about the future of the region's rugged beauty
Chile's Supreme Court has ruled in a favour of a multi-billion dollar damming project in one of South America's most iconic landscapes. However, the country's government still needs to give the final 'thumbs up' for construction to go ahead. If approved, Patagonia could be flooded not just with 6,000 hectares of new reservoirs but power lines and unsightly hydro-electric power plants too.
David Nichols, Product Manager of Journey Latin America, spoke to Wanderlust about the project: "although Aisén is a very big region and the dams are planned for the far south, the peripheral effects of it could extend far beyond the flooded wilderness and wildlife habitats."
"No one wants to see lorries thundering up and down the Austral road with workers and building supplies, bringing pollution and unwanted changes to the way people live," he added.
"It's possible to envisage Aisén will remain a special place to travel even if the dam goes ahead, but that would be missing the point: which is that this is one of the last completely untouched and pristine areas of wilderness left. Aisén is a global treasure. This is why people want to come here. For any of it to be disturbed represents an irreversible loss," concluded David.
All seven appeals put forward by environmental groups have been rejected; each expressed concern over damage that could be inflicted on the area's fragile ecosystems.
The projected inundation caused by the dams is believed to pose a great threat to the endangered Andean dear, the Huemul, as well as to locals who would be living downstream. There are also fears that the five dams could jeopardise tourism to the region.
Pro-dam campaigners argue it will provide much needed energy for Chile's growing economy. As a result, the Patagonia HidroAysen dam has caused much debate across the country, provoking many protests, some of which have been violent.
If the government approves the construction, building work could begin as soon as 2014. The project could be completed in ten years.
Thousands of travellers flock to Patagonia every year to see its famous and unspoilt landscapes of glaciers, ice-fields, razor-sharp mountains and fjords.
Check out how's best to meet its moai and get a feel for life on Chile's Easter Island | Destinations... More
Chile court suspends controversial Patagonia dam project | News... More
Reaching the ‘end of the world’ | Blogs... More
Controversial plans threaten Chilean eco-systems | News... More
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
Chile travel guide, including map of Chile, top Chilean travel experiences, tips for travel in Chile, plus mountain hiking and whalewatching
Northern Patagonia’s Chiloé archipelago is not only a fascinating land of historic churches, wild islets and prolific penguins – it’s also quite unlike anywhere else…
Tom Shearman, from Latin American tour specialist Andean Trails, explains what you need to know before trekking independently in the Andes
Isolated and spectacular, the island of Rapa Nui is a worthy detour to any Latin American itinerary – here’s how best to meet its moai and get a feel for island life
Chile and Argentina are evacuating over 2,400 citizens from the area surrounding the Copahue volcano following increasing seismic activity
Heavy downpours have flushed anti-tank and anti-personnel explosives onto Chilean roads adjacent to Peru, suspending all border crossings between the countries
Tourist attractions close and travellers warned to be on alert as the world's driest desert is hit by flooding and mudslides
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
SAVE 10% online with Rohan
Northern Lights in Tromsø, Norway: 3 nights from £420pp incl. flights
Save up to £4,666 per couple on a seven night luxury beach escape to Thailand
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too