Comuna de Cochamó, Región de Los Lagos
Cochamó in Mapudungún means “the place where the freshwater estuaries and the sea meet”. In Cochamó, the Cordillera of the Andes abruptly meets the Pacific Ocean, forming the first fjord of the southern Chilean seas, in what we could call the true beginning of Chilean Patagonia.
In Cochamó, the second largest river in the country, after the Báker, the Puelo River, enters the Pacific Ocean via the Golfo de Ancud.
To access this hidden giant and tour the Puelo river and its basin, one must cross Lake Tagua Tagua, the guardian that hides and preserves it. After this lake, one will discover numerous and wondrous valleys cut by the Puelo River and its tributaries, all surrounded by National Parks and other protected areas, both on the Chilean and Argentinean sides of the border.
The valleys of the Puelo River Basin créate natural demarcation zones between the conservation areas, and serve as biological corridors for many species of native flora and fauna.
Under the shelter of mountain landscapes, dotted with volcanoes like the Yates, that crown the various horizons, there are glaciers, virgin temperate rainforests, lakes of touching beauty, in addition to innumerable lagoons and streams, coursing with pure wáter that mirror the sky.
It is incredible that so close to an urban area, 100 kilometers from the city of Puerto Montt, there lies a natural paradise in such a good state of conservation with a distinct local culture found uniquely in the Puelo River basin.
Refuge of vitality:
In these lands there is still harmony, in the shelter of the Puelo River, vigorous life leads the way.
Here live many native species in danger of extinction, in danger of disappearing forever. Millennial larches, pudúes, huemules, condors, and others such as puma, huillines, Patagonian vizcacha, the Darwin frog, monte monito, and the Patagonian bagrecito have found their home.
This binational basin, since time immemorial, has been inhabited by man. There is archeological evidence of the presence of Tehuelches indians, living some 1,500 years ago in the Manso River subbasin of the Puelo River. At present, Mapuche families and communities still live there, who take care and depend on Ñuque Mapu (mother earth).
But not only the Mapuche inhabit this land. The difficulty of connectivity with Chile, due to the rugged terrain, favored the cultural and commercial exchange with the communities of Argentina, that generated a gaucho cowboy culture that treasures its particular traditions.
After years of neglect and lack of interest by the rest of Chile, the Puelo River and many of its tributaries are now in the cross hairs of the extraction industry, in the name of progress.
Since 1990, the waters of the Puelo River have been the target of energy generation companies. whose interest in developing the Puelo River as an electricity source have only intensified with the parallel development of concurrent hydroelectric projects throughout the rest of Patagonia. For this reason, at the end of 2012, a group of neighbors, friends and artists joined forces to work for the conservation of the natural state of the basin, creating an NGO called Puelo Patagonia Corporation, with which the Geute Conservación Sur Foundation works closely in providing legal advice.
Our main desire was to contribute to the harmonious development of the area by proposing development initiatives in sync with the landscape and its people, however, due to the unprecedented development pressures facing the basin we have been forced to prioritize the defense of the territory as our first duty.WHAT WE ARE DOING