Directions to Karukinka

April 20, 2012

WCS President and CEO Dr. Steven E. Sanderson recounts his recent expedition to one of the greatest wild places left on Earth: Karukinka, Chile. The trip was part of an effort to preserve this landscape and make it sustainable for generations to come.

Travel to Chile. Upon arriving, head to southern Patagonia, near the tip of South America. Cross the Magellan Strait.

Arrive on the island of Tierra del Fuego, latitude 54 degrees south. Watch for the dusky dolphin and sea lions welcoming you from below and the albatross, kelp gulls, petrels and cormorants overhead. Travel the grasslands, heading south. Pass the southernmost Chilean flamingos in the world, living alongside king penguins, culpeo fox and guanaco.

You know you have arrived when the grasslands turn into old-growth forest and the lower Andean range towers. One dirt road will lead you to its southern border on Admiralty Sound, a waterway to the end of human-occupied Earth, as fjords and glaciers bear witness both to ancient time and contemporary climate change.

It is distant and isolated. You are now exploring one of the greatest wild places left on Earth.

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