Argentina is a country in South America. It has its capital in Buenos Aires which is also the largest city. There are 33 national parks in Argentina with 7% of the country being made up of protected areas. This article discusses the largest national parks in Argentina.
Largest National Parks Of Argentina
Los Glaciares National Park
It is located in Santa Cruz Province and is the largest in the country covering an area of 2,807 square hectares. It was established in 1937 and was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1981. The name Los Glaciares refers to the giant ice cap in the Andes range that fees 47 large glaciers flowing towards the Atlantic Ocean. The climate of the area is cool and moist with rainfall being distributed evenly throughout the year. The park is an international attraction for tourists with the main attraction sites being the ice cap and the glaciers, Lago Del Desierto (Desert Lake), and Lago Roca (lake). The park has more than 1,000 species of birds and other animals including guanaco, cougar, and the gray fox. Large scale grazing has adversely affected the ecology of the park.
Nahuel Huapi National Park
Nahuel Huapi National Park is located in the Rio Negro and Neagu provinces and covers an area of approximately 2,750 square miles (over two million acres) near San Carlos de Bariloche City. It is the oldest park in the country and was founded in 1934. It has encompassed Lake Nahuel Huapi and is characterized by high mountain chain of the Andes. The park derives its name from Lake Nahuel Huapi which it surrounds. Locally, Nahuel means Jaguar and Huapi mean island. The dominant tree species are the lengas, coihue, bamboo, and nires. The park offers many avenues for recreation the main ones being Victoria Island and the road to the seven lakes. The Andes Mountains also provide an excellent environment for mountain climbing and rock climbing. The trekking routes in the park have accommodation services at various locations. The longest trek is 28 miles while the shortest is 7.5 miles.
Lanin National Park
This park is the largest national park in the country occupying an area of 1,591 square miles, and the most common trees are Fagaceae and conifers with most of the tree species being endemic to the park. Lanin Park has a diverse collection of flora and fauna. Some notable animals include the river otters, Southern Andean, and foxes. There are several volcanic lakes including Huechulafquen, Alumine, and Lacar lakes. There are also numerous rivers and streams. Sports fishing for salmon and trout is the primary recreational activity in the park. Nature lovers and researchers also frequent the area. The area experiences very low temperatures and high rainfall with a mean annual precipitation of over 4,000 mm. Snow falls are experienced between the months of May to October.
Los Alerces National Park
It is one of the biggest park in the country occupying an area of 1,015 square miles along the Chilean border with Argentina and is most popular with the predominant alerce trees.It was created in 1937 with the main aim of protecting the alerce forests. Alerces(Fitzroya cupressoides) is a big tree growing to heights of 200 ft and a bark diameter of around 15 ft. It is one of the longest living trees in the world with some in the park being more than 3,000 years old. Puerto Sagrario is the principal forest in the park and is a popular tourist attraction site. The other forests in the park are the Valdivian temperate rain forests and the Patagonian forest. The park also has a complex lake system which includes; The Menedez, Rivadavia, Fatalaufquen and Kruger lakes. An artificial lake in the park, Lake Amutui Quime, was constructed to provide electricity to a factory nearby the park. Tourist attraction activities include; nature walks, fishing and boat trips.
Environmental Threats And Conservation Efforts
Human activities are threatening the existence of national parks in Argentina, the need for agricultural land and grazing land is leading farmers deeper into the reserve as domestic and wild animals compete for pasture. Lumbering of indigenous species of trees and bamboos is also a threat. Conservation efforts spearheaded by the Argentine government, UNEP, and UNESCO has seen the laws to protect natural habitats gazatted.