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NAHUEL HUAPI NATIONAL PARK

ARGENTINA

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PARKS IN ARGENTINA

NAHUEL HUAPI NATIONAL PARK

Location: In the south-western part of the Province of Neuquén, Department of Los Lagos, and the westernmost part of Rio Negro, in the Department of Bariloche. It limits to the north with the National Park of Lanín, and includes Los Arrayanes National Park.

Surface: 766000 hectares, between the Park and two Reserves; 491160 hectares in Neuquén and 222000 hectares in Rio Negro. NOTE: OTHER VERSIONS POINT OUT THAT THEY ADD UP TO 705000, 710000 AND 785000 HECTARES.

SPANISH VERSION
PARQUES EN ARGENTINA
Parks in Argentina
La Rioja
* Talampaya
* Laguna Brava
* Guasamayo
Rio Negro
* Nahuel Huapi
   National Park
Distance from the capital of the Province or nearby localities: From San Carlos de Bariloche: 12 kilometres.

General description: It is the first South American Park and one of the first in the world. The Nahuel Huapí National Park keeps samples of three natural units: the High Andean Lands, the Andean Patagonian Forest, including sectors of the Forest of Valdivia and the Transitional Forest, and the Patagonian Steppe.

The Nahuel Huapí National Park has the characteristic mountainous terrain of the southern Andes. It presents mid altitude mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes, forests and valleys. Its highest elevations are at the Andean massif, decreasing towards the Patagonian high plateau. The most important ones demark the border with Chile. The highest summit is that of the Tronador Mountain, at 3554 metres above sea level, called like this (Thunderous) due to the noise produced by the cracking of the enormous masses of ice. Other outstanding mountains are the Crespo, Cuyín Manzano, Campana, Milaqueo, Capilla, Santa Elena, Bastion, Lopez and Catedral, with heights that oscillate between 1800 and 2400 metres.

Deep valleys and ravines, called passes, allow crossing to Chile, and the best known ones are Puyehue, Perez Rosales and that of Los Vuriloches, used by the natives in ancient times.

The Otto and Ventana Mountains and the Ñirihuau Range, which offer an amazing panoramic view, can be distinguished to the east, in the pre Andean zone.

Amongst the characteristics of the zone we have the presence of lakes and large rivers flowing into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, fed by abundant rains, the defrosting of the glaciers and the melting of the snows. The most important basin is that of the Nahuel Huapí, of 600000 hectares, which gives the Park its name. The 31 square kilometre-wide Victoria Island stand out in the middle, along with other minor islands such as Fray Menendez, Huemul and Centinela Isle.

We find the Manso River, one of the most characteristics in the zone, on the southern limit of the Park, as well as lagoons such as La Negra, Schmoll, Touchek, Frías and Jacob, and lakes such as Mascardi, Guillermo and Gutierrez.

A particularly singular attraction is at the mouth of the Frías River, which comes from the homonymous lagoon into the westernmost part of the Blest Sound in the Nahuel Huapí Lake, in which the intense blue waters of this sound blend with the opal green waters of the Frías River.

The Vantage Point (Mirador), an excellent observation post over the Traful Lake, is a spectacular cliff that plunges straight into the said lake.

Valle Encantado offers awesome rock formations eroded by the rain and the wind, which have left capricious and flashy shapes, like the so-called God's Finger, for instance, or The Castle and The Penitent.

Skiing, mountaineering, trekking, sport fishing of salmons and rafting are the main sports practiced in the Park.

Flora and Fauna

The Park houses several biomasses, and the lakes constitute one of thi with their scarce fauna of native fishes, such as the perch and the crossbred trout, or introduced ones such as the salmon, and the rainbow and brown trout.

The Sub Antarctic Forest is the dominant biomass in the zone, and it contains an important amount of native trees, such as the cypress and the cohiue. There are very humid places where small concentrations of myrtle, patagua and white sage or incense tree, can be found.

The Forest of Valdivia flourishes towards the border with Chile, with its exuberant vegetation, composed in Puerto Blest of the coihue oak, the mañiu, the laurel and the alerrces, on whose trunks tangles the showy estrellita.

The colihue reed and diverse ferns are predominant in the brushwood, which is almost always damped.

Autochthonous mammals such as the pudú or midget deer, the huiul, the puma and the huillín or river otter, the red fox, the zorrilla, the midget weasel, etc., are scarce and can rarely be seen. Amongst the exotic fauna we have the red deer, and herds of guanacos can be watched on the slopes of Valle Encantado.

The avifauna is represented by the cormorant, a rare species dwelling on Victoria Island, the cook gull, the black-necked heron, the witch heron, the woodpecker, the great bustard, etc. The large common grebe or huala, the great bustard, the bandurria and the gullible chucao, can be easily spotted. The birds of prey are abundant on the steppe and the best known, the majestic condor, is on high summits.

The ichthyologic fauna comprise both, autochthonous species such as the perch, the common jollytail, the Patagonian atherine, etc., and exotic species such as the rainbow, stream and brown trout, and the locked salmon, which are apt for sport fishing.

The nearest tourist destination is San Carlos de Bariloche, situated over the Park.

 


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