Cochamó Valley's protection (ZOIT) is being threatened

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This majestic valley is often compared to Yosemite National Park. It features towering granite walls and bright blue rivers. However, unlike Yosemite, the land in Cochamó is not a National Park. It is a Zone of Touristic Importance (ZOIT). The ZOIT status designates it as somewhere that is an attraction for recreational tourism and protects it from projects such as road construction, timber operations, mining, and hydroelectric dam installations and other mega projects, and focuses on protecting smaller local businesses.

This year, Cochamó’s ZOIT designation was up for renewal. Locals in the community have been working diligently to ensure that the renewal process would result in a re-approval of the ZOIT. However in August, they found out that the governmental branch dedicated to tourism (Sernatur), that is also charged with administering the ZOIT, had terminated the renewal process and a brand new process for eventually securing such protections under different conditions had been re-initiated without any community involvement. Furthermore, in this new process Sernatur is not recognizing Cochamó as a tourist destination. This leaves Cochamó vulnerable to development that would permanently alter the landscape.

There is a generalized feeling that the decision was politically motivated, fueled in large part by Roberto Hagemann, a businessman who owns large areas of land within the former ZOIT area and he is interested in developing them. There is concern that this brand new ZOIT process has been initiated with the intention of omitting the land owned by Hagemann from the protected area leaving him free of obstacles to introduce and continue with his mega projects.

The community of Cochamó DEMANDS that the original renewal process be continued, the area of the ZOIT be immediately reinstated and the ZOIT designation be return to Cochamó. The broad range of visitors from around the world also demands this. Please show your support and sign this petition.