Yesterday, the world lost a hero.
Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face, passed away in a kayaking accident in Patagonia. He was 72.
This year we had the opportunity to partner with The North Face and are so proud to have worked with a company that we’ve always looked up to. Doug is a huge part of the reason why.
In 1990, Doug left the business world to “to pay his rent for living on the planet.” He started the Foundation for Deep Ecology and moved to Patagonia, where he began using his personal wealth to buy degraded farm and ranchland with the goal of rewilding the land, creating parks, and transferring these back to the government.
He and his wife Kristine Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia, have since acquired over 2 million acres; creating five new national parks with more in the works.
I first learned of the Tompkins’ work in the excellent documentary 180° South, a remake of the 1968 adventure film Mountain of Storms made by Doug and Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. The most powerful message for me was that people will only protect what they love, so to inspire environmental protection we must first get people outside and enjoying nature.
When we started working with private landowners at Hipcamp, Doug and Kris’ story provided inspiration for the model of recreation supporting conservation. Too often people view recreation and conservation as competing efforts — we can either save the land or enjoy it. But my familiarity with the Tompkins’ story helped cement my belief that responsible land use — such as camping — can be a powerful part of the environmental solution.
Doug’s great work will continue through the parks he created and the people he inspired.
Doug and Kristine Tompkins
Help the legacy live on by donating to Conservacion Patagonica here.
Photos from Conservación Patagónica
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