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Doug Tompkins: A Eulogy

Doug Tompkins: A Eulogy

Doug Tompkins died of hypothermia Dec. 8th when his kayak capsized in the frigid waters of Lake General Carrera. My son Jake worked for Doug and his wife, Kris, at Conservacion Patagonica, whose mission is “to create national parks in Patagonia that save and restore wildlands and wildlife, inspire care for the natural world, and generate healthy economic opportunities for local communities.” Photo from Conservacion Patagonica’s website

Here is Jake's remembrance of Doug:

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”  Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Because Doug Tompkins was one who could not, he dedicated much of his life to protecting the wild things and the places that nurture them. As a result, the world is a better place; and so are we. That’s a bold statement, but Doug was a bold man who thought big.

He started and sold several companies, completed 'first ascents' of rivers and mountains around the world, and, with his wife Kris, fought to protect the 2.2-million acres they had accumulated in Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia, one of the wildest and most beautiful places on earth.

Yet, what I will remember most about Doug is his passion – a passion that fueled his drive for perfection in everything he did. That didn’t make him easy to work for. He was as cantankerous a person as I have ever met, and he rubbed many people the wrong way. But in the end he was driven by love – love for the land he fought to protect, love for the people who fought with him, love for Kris, his partner in everything.

He is buried in the place he loved. May both forever rest in peace.

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