A new national park in Chile is coming up to protect 141,000 acres of the Atacama Desert's biodiverse environment, where a rare mega bloom covers one of the world's most arid regions in a sea of crimson, magenta, and marigold wildflowers. Last October’s stunning display, the first in five years, led the government to construct northern Chile’s sixth national park, Desierto Florido.
A fasinating Sight to Experience:
Beyond its breathtaking vegetation, this surreal region is full with wonders. The world's driest nonpolar desert, the Atacama, is teeming with life: the microorganisms that thrive in the zone's harsh, hyper-arid core; the insects and birds that depend on the flowers, which appear every three to ten years. Many of these bacteria may have information about life beyond Earth as well as how to survive on an increasingly parched planet.
Previously, this "flowering desert" only happened once every five to ten years on average. However, one of the few benefits of climate change is that rains are becoming more frequent in the southern edge of the Atacama, which means that at least some flowers may now be seen in the Llanos and Chañarcillo sectors virtually yearly. A top-to-bottom desert expedition offers the opportunity to respect and preserve these hardy species while also participating in a citizen scientific effort that advances the hunt for alien life.
The new park will be located between the cities of Vallenar and Copiapó, close to the country's northern shore. Travelers will have the opportunity to experience the rugged southern coast of Atacama, where peacock-blue seas glisten, in addition to the park's blooming. Astronomy enthusiasts can see uncommon glimpses of the cosmos under the brilliant night skies of Atacama.
Preserving the plants and animals of the desert
The majority of protected areas in Chile are found in Patagonia, which includes the 10 million acres of newly added parks that made up Patagonia National Park in 2018.
Only a small portion of this protection is granted to the Atacama by the government and, according to Dorador, global conservation groups. People think that nothing needs to be protected in the desert. However, there is optimism for Atacama environmentalists thanks to a new administration in Chile and a recent campaign for safeguards in northern Chile.
In addition to the endemic flowers, this park may contribute to the preservation of rare natural occurrences and the species that rely on it, such as pollinators, animals, and the ecosystem as a whole. In order to allow people to enjoy and preserve nature at the same time, it is hoped that it would establish boundaries and walking paths for them.