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Tierra del Fuego National Park

Tierra del Fuego National Park

Located 11km from the city of Ushuaia towards the south east of the Greater Tierra del Fuego Island, bordered to the west by the Republic of Chile. It was created in 1960 by law 15.554, and spreads over 63000 hectares and covers the extreme south of the Andes Mountains, Fagnano Lake and the sub-Antarctic forest to the coast of the Beagle Channel.

It is divided into three areas: A prohibited entry - Strict Natural Reserve; a restricted entry - Wild Natural Reserve; and a Recreational Area which can be visited.

What makes it different from other national parks of this country is its uniqueness, integrating the coastal, forest and mountain landscapes. Over this area we will find the rich biological diversity of Tierra del Fuego Island and her beautiful landscapes.

The park presents typical glacial topography that alternates from deep valleys covered in rivers and lakes with northeast to southeast mountain chains.

The vegetation that characterizes the area are the abundant Lenga, Guinda and Coihue (varieties of the Birch tree) forests that cover the sub forest of bushes, mosses and ferns; the wild vegetation of the high Andean steppes bend to the severe climatic conditions; and the peat bogs, made up of run-off deposits and waste vegetation compacted in low lying areas. The multiplicity and abundance of Fuegian flora, which changes with each season, give colour and texture to unique places like Lapatia Bay, Acigame Lake and Ensenada Bay. Here one can still find reminders of the ancient inhabitants of the region, the Yámanas, whose circular piles (called “concheras”, the product of accumulated molluscs which they ate),were left as shell waste beside their huts.

The National Park is inhabited by a limited number of wild animals (due to its inhospitable climate), made up of some twenty mammals and approximately ninety species of birds. The mammal species that can be found with most frequency are the Red Fox and the Guanaco; the rest are mostly smaller rodents which do not make themselves visible to the visitor. The most attractive birds and the ones that are most common in the open areas of the park are the Cauquenes – South American Geese – which can be seen usually with their mates; one can also see Woodpeckers, Chimangos, Mora Eagles, a variety of Herons and Ducks. There are also some species introduced by man, which over the decades have increased in numbers, rapidly adapted to the environment (such as the European Rabbit, the Beaver, the Muskrat and the Grey Fox),and which have had a serious impact upon the natural landscape.
Tranex Turismo S.A. owner of the Southern Fuegian Railway carries out part of its route inside the Tierra del Fuego National Park.

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