Douglas Tompkins, renowned environmentalist and founder of clothing companies The North Face and Esprit, died yesterday following a kayaking accident in southern Chile. He was 72 years old.
Tompkins made his fortune with the North Face and Esprit before renouncing consumerism and devoting his life to conservationism and the environment.
After selling his stakes in both companies, Tompkins moved from the United States to Chile with his wife in 1990. He started acquiring massive amounts of land in Chile and Argentina with the aim of creating nature reserves to protect the region’s wilderness.
In total, Tompkins and his wife acquired about 2.2mn acres of land for conservation, including southern Chile’s Pumalín Park, one of the biggest private nature reserves in the world.
In 2011, Tompkins told the Wall Street Journal that he and his foundations had spent over USD$350mn on conservation in the past two decades.
“Doug was a passionate advocate for the environment, and his legacy of conservation will help ensure that there are outdoor spaces to be explored for generations to come,” said The North Face in a statement.
Tompkins is survived by his wife, Kristine, his daughters, Summer and Quincey, his mother, Faith, and brother John.