Wild Legacy

TENT salutes environmental hero and inspiration Doug Tomkins.

Douglas Rainsford Tompkins (March 20, 1943 – December 8, 2015) was an American conservationist, outdoorsman, philanthropist, filmmaker, agriculturalist, and businessman. This wonderful short film celebrates his life and achievements. A Wild Legacy tells the story of Doug’s incredible life, his lasting impact on the wild landscapes of Patagonia, and Kris and the Tompkins Conservation team’s efforts to continue his audacious mission.


Co-founder of The North Face and Esprit, Doug spent the first half of his life building successful, global brands, while simultaneously adventuring around the world, completing first descents of the world’s toughest rivers. In 1968 Doug embarked on a trip to Chile, driving with friends from California to the tip of Patagonia. Documented in the film Mountain of Storms, the trip solidified Doug’s place as rock climbing legend. In the early 1990s, Doug sold his part of Esprit and moved down to Chile to do conservation work full time with his wife, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, the former CEO of Patagonia, Inc. Together, over the last 25 years, Doug and Kris have protected 2.2 million acres, more land than any other individuals. The foundations under the Tompkins Conservation umbrella, along with their partners, have created five national parks in Chile and Argentina and are in the process of creating five more.

If anything can save the world, I’d put my money on beauty.


Doug was tragically killed in a kayaking accident on Lago General Carrera, north of Patagonia Park, on December 8th, 2015. Douglas Tompkins: A Wild Legacy was presented to audiences at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival on May 24th, 2016 during the festival’s tribute to Doug.

Doug was a friend and inspiration to TENT founder Paul Lister – he said:

“In my opinion he was the greatest conservationist of our time; the extent of Doug’s achievements, together with his beloved wife Kris, are nothing short of a miracle. The landscapes and lives that Doug protected and touched during his lifetime are beyond measure. His quiet nature, generous heart and forward thinking made him a very, very special individual. I am extremely privileged to have first met Doug & Kris in Argentina (2007) and subsequently spent time with them both in Chile, Scotland, Romania and London on numerous occasions. I only hope we can all live up to his incredible legacy to preserve and restore wildlands for future generations, which in turn provide is with the services we need so much for life on earth to continue… clean air, water and soil.”


The work goes on at tompkinsconservation.org.