Prior to the 2019-2020 season, the OVC presented a project to Mamut and Andes Gear to finance a long-term trail restoration plan, ideally leading to, at least in many sections, separate trails for pedestrians and horses. thus allowing the recovery of many sectors of native forest that at this time are highly impacted. During this season, a first phase was executed with improvements along the 12 km to Río La Junta and some high altitude trails.
The works included fixing bad “passes”, installation of planks in various sections, repair of the Río Piedras bridge and the construction of new bridges, on the Río La Junta and in the high valley of Anfiteatro.
The construction of bridges is expensive work that represents very important accident prevention measures. When it rains the rivers swell quickly and wading through them becomes impossible or very risky. The La Junta river is constantly crossed by thousands of visitors during the middle and high season to access trails and climbing sectors.
Patricio (Camping Vista Hermosa) and Daniel (Camping La Junta) dedicated several days to the opening of this path that allows the guests of the Los Manzanos campsite to have much shorter access to the Las Cascadas and Valle Anfiteatro sector.
In this way, the use of cable-cars that cross the Cochamó River is relieved and the congestion of the main trail and its consequent erosion is reduced.
The trail from the town of Cochamó to Paso El León was traveled by indigenous peoples thousands of years ago. At the end of the 19th century, a multitude of workers from the Chile-Argentina company built a road that included kilometers of larch trees to move thousands of head of cattle from Argentina to Cochamó (they even installed a telegraph!). When the company withdrew at the beginning of the 20th century, with the arrival of customs, the road continued to be used by arrieros between Paso El León and Cochamó, by explorers, settlers, scientists, climbers and in the last decade by thousands of visitors.
In the last ten to fifteen years the path between the El Morro bridge and the La Junta River has been exponentially affected by erosion, the impact on the forest surrounding the main trail and the birth of hundreds of alternative trails. Since tourism arrived in the Valley, the maintenance for the 12-kilometer stretch of trail to the La Junta River were mostly carried out spontaneously and informally by some responsible arrieros, or horsemen, sometimes alone, other times with random help with supplies from the municipality or local tour operators.
Another important project was carried out a decade ago by the public-private foundation "Senderos de Chile", which consisted of a historic rescue of the Cochamó-Paso León trail and included training for residents on sustainable tourism, bridge construction, trail repairs and the printing of a beautiful book with history, geography, flora and fauna.
Due to Covid 19, the continuity of funds for this important project is uncertain. In any case, the OVC trusts that the work can continue through the help of new donors and entities that are committed to investing in the sustainable future of the valley and the quality of life of the thousands of people who visit it.