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Exploring Chile’s La Campana National Park (In Spanish)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Greetings, loving viewers, and welcome to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. In today’s episode, please join us on a journey to a place of splendid natural beauty, La Campana National Park in Chile.

Created on October 17, 1967, the park is located more than 96 kilometers northwest of Santiago in Cordillera de la Costa. It is shared between the Hijuelas District of the Quillota Province and the Olmué District of the Marga-marga Province in Valparaiso, at the southern edge of the Aconcagua Valley. With an elevation between 400 and 2,220 meters above sea level, the 8,000-hectare reserve is divided into three sectors: the 5,440-hectare Palmas de Ocoa, the 1,588-hectare Cajón Grande, and the 972-hectare Granizo.

As the only protected wild area in the Central Region of continental Chile, the national park is well-known for its ancient palm forests made up of the endemic Jubaea Chilensis. It is administered by Chile's National Forest Corporation (CONAF), a state agency responsible for the conservation of the nation’s wildlife heritage and the sustainable use of forest resources.

La Campana National Park has a Mediterranean climate with cloudy mornings along the coast and marked temperature homogeneity throughout the year. Rainfall comes mostly in winter, with an annual average of 450 millimeters near the ocean and about 250 millimeters in inland areas.

Despite the scarcity of water resources, there is a beautiful 35-meter-high waterfall named La Cortadera in the Palmas de Ocoa sector, surrounded by verdant cliffs. A soft trail along the Rabuco brook towards the Rabuco Marsh unveils magnificent palm groves in their awe-inspiring beauty.

The Cajón Grande sector of the park is characterized by the Manzano Creek and several fresh water ponds including La Poza del Coipo. The pristine water bodies are reachable through two paths named Portezuelo Ocoa and El Plateau.

Some of the most spectacular views of the park are seen in the Granizo sector. The famous El Andinista Trail stretches 7 kilometers, leading to the peak of Cerro La Campana, or the Bell Mountain, for which the park was named. At an altitude of 1,900 meters, the rocky summit presents a fantastic panorama of the surrounding valleys, the Pacific Ocean, and the Andes Mountains. On a clear day, the endless rolling snowcrests of the Andes under the azure sky may make one feel in awe of the surrounding splendor. Among the pinnacles visible from Cerro La Campana is Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Southern Hemisphere.

The five hours of trekking along the El Andinista Trail before arriving at the summit provides many opportunities for visitors to fully appreciate the park’s flora and fauna. Another trail one can take, La Canasta, also offers a wonderful experience of being in close proximity to the vibrant plants and animals in the area.

In 1834, the natural spectacles and rich biodivesity of the region were greatly admired by a naturalist from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England named Charles Darwin. During his second voyage of HMS Beagle in 1834, Mr. Darwin ascended Cerro La Campana and spent an entire day on the hilltop. He wrote in his journal:

“Chile and its boundaries the Andes and the Pacific were seen as in a Map. ... Who can avoid admiring the wonderful force which has upheaved these mountains, & even more so the countless ages which it must have required to have broken through, removed & leveled the entire masses of them?”

Today, a commemorating plaque can be found on the hillside of La Campana with a short quote from his book “My Trip around the World.” It is also worth noting that on a number of occasions Mr. Darwin advocated a vegetarian diet as the one must beneficial to humankind. He is quoted as saying, “The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”

In the middle of a long narrow land strip, with the virtually impassable Andes to the east, the unique location of La Campana National Park played an important role in the evolution of the wildlife living in the park. It is a center of the convergence of northern, central and southern Andean zones. The distribution of vegetations clearly follows the altitude and closeness to the ocean.

Major plant communities include Nothofagus forest, hygrophilous forest, sclerophyll forest, matorral, bamboo thicket, succulent scrub, high altitude communities, and palm forest. More than 1,800 vascular plant varieties are present in the area, with 545 species documented in the park, including those from 37 Chilean endemic genera. The park is rich in edible, medicinal, and decorative plants.

The Chilean palm is the only palm species native to mainland Chile. It is also the world's southernmost continental palm. Reaching up to 25 meters tall and 1.3 meters in base diameter, the tree has a smooth bark. Measuring 2 to 3 centimeters across, the edible fruits are wrapped in a firm husk. Currently having more than 60,000 adult specimens, the park’s Chilean palm grove is the world’s largest remaining Jubaea palm forest in the world.

At the foothill of La Campana, 900 meters above the sea level, it is interesting to find a significant presence of oak forests, a genus thought to be native to the northern atmosphere.

La Campana National Park is also abundant with cacti. The most noticeable species is Echinopsis chiloensis, which can grow up to 8 meters in height. These Chilean flora are found at an elevation of 700 to 1,100 meters, and produce large white flowers and delicious fruits. An amazing trait of this kind of cactus, which is shared by a few other Chilean cacti, is its resistance to freezing temperature. Echinopsis chiloensis is known to survive minus 8 degree Celsius and even snow fall! Its resilient nature and ease to cultivate have made it a popular ornamental plant.

The special geological and climatary conditions of La Campana National Park are well-suited for the coexistence of a range of animals typical of central Chile. This results in a high representation of Chilean Mediterranean species as well as cats and migratory birds. Mammals include the Andean Fox South American Gray Fox, Lesser Grison, as well as rodents such as the mostly veg chinchilla, cururo, and vizcacha.

Among the frequently observed birds are the giant hummingbird, the Magellanic Horned Owl, Moustached Turca, Variable Hawk, the Chilean Pigeon, Chilean mockingbirds, Dusky Tailed Canastero, White throated Tapaculo, the black chested buzzard-eagle, as well as finches and crown sparrows. The Giant Hummingbird is the largest hummingbird in the world, reaching up to 22 centimeters in length. They exhibit a very fast wing beats 10 to 15 beats a second to balance them while remaining at one place in the air to drink nectar from flowers.

The area is also inhabited with a good number of reptiles and amphibian species, as well as invertebrates such as the famous Chilean rose tarantula.

The unique biodiversity of the park has become the basis for its designation as a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1985. Archeological evidence representing human activities during different eras supports the existence of a number of prehistorical societies in the park’s area.

Different settlement patterns, ceremonial features and forms of subsistence have been linked to socio-cultural groups such as Bato, Aconcagua, and Inca. In the Ocoa region, researchers have discovered “tacitas” (cups) stones, mortars, potteries, and other stone artifacts commonly found in farming communities. Of particular interest are “marais,” a stone tool used to break rocks to obtain minerals such as copper.

Historical structures representing the early presence of European culture have also been found in various parts of Ocoa Valley, including cabins, kilns that burned charcoal, ovens for producing palm syrup, and irrigation devices. Thanks to its flourishing surroundings, culture attraction, and good maintenance, the park has been a popular destination since its establishment. It has been used as a teaching facility to show schoolchildren the beauty of nature and to create environmental awareness.

These tours are guided by friendly rangers who lead inquisitive youths around the reserve and show them various trees, flowers, animals, and insects. They also demonstrate how to care for the flora and fauna in native habitats. From a young age, local children are imparted with the concept: the Earth does not belong to human; human belongs to the Earth. Another exciting phenomenon is that almost all year round, there are sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) in the park area, which have been reported by individuals in Quilpue and Valparaiso. Perhaps the beauty of the park not only fascinates humans, but also draws the admiration of visitors from far away.

La Campana National Park plays a unique role in the conservation of Chilean endemic wildlife. May the natural wonders and cultural relics of this magnificent ecological garden be well preserved for many generations to cherish.

Affectionate viewers, thank you for joining us today on A Journey through Aesthetic Realms. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, after Noteworthy News. May God forever bless you with light and love.
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