The melting of the Exploradores Glacier has caused trekking on its ice surface to pose a risk to visitors.
The Exploradores Glacier, located in the Laguna San Rafael National Park, has been a place of fascination and natural beauty for decades. This giant of ice is part of the vast network of glaciers that extend across the Aysén region in southern Chile. Unfortunately, access for travelers, residents, and trekking enthusiasts has been ruled out after the announcement of its definitive closure by the country's authorities.
In a recent meeting between the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF), the General Directorate of Water (DGA) of the Ministry of Public Works (MOP), and the Regional Ministry of Health (SEREMI) of Aysén, experts identified alarming evidence that led to the closure of the area and the prohibition of ice hikes.
"On October 12th, a team from DGA of MOP and CONAF conducted an evaluation and analysis visit to the Exploradores Glacier in the Laguna San Rafael National Park, equipped with specialized technical instruments to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the glacier's condition" the authorities reported.
The report reveals that over the last four years, the glacier has experienced progressive disintegration and a decrease in its surface area. The lagoon has increased in size, which is directly related to the glacier's melting. Cracks in the ice have become more numerous, and smaller lagoons have appeared at the front of the Exploradores Glacier, further complicating the safety of those who venture onto it.
Is this the end of the Exploradores Glacier as a tourist attraction?
Based on the analysis by the DGA and CONAF, authorities have concluded that the current conditions of the glacier pose a high level of risk for the trekking activities that have been conducted up to this date. As a result, they have made the decision to definitively close this activity.
According to official spokespersons, this definitive closure does not mean that the glacier will cease to be a tourist destination in southern Chile. Currently, a multisectoral commission is working between CONAF, DGA, MOP, SEREMI, and other organizations to evaluate possible alternatives for the impressive Exploradores Glacier to establish itself as a safe and sustainable natural environment.
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