Alerce Costero (Coastal Alerce) National Monument is located on the Pacific Ocean coast at 85 miles from the city of Valdivia and 30 miles from La Unión. The area of Alerce Costero National Monument comprises 5,700 acres. At the top of Alerce Costero National Monument you will find an esplanade with 14 alerces tress (Fitzroya cupressoides); from there you will also see the native jungle that covers the mountain range. In front is the Piedra del Indio Shelter , where we find the CONAF park ranger’ station; this is the best place for installing a rustic camping. From there you will be able to walk a footpath of 1.5 miles, that takes an one hour an a half, to reach at the end an ancient alerce (of more than 3,000 years), with a trunk of 14.1 feet of diameter and a perimeter of 36 feet.
The road to Alerce Costero National Monument is crossed by pure alerce forests, perfect to admire the beautiful vegetation of the lush forest where it stands out the beautiful ferns with trunk. It’s forbidden to pull them out, since they cannot survive in another environment. From here, you can see the alerce cemeteries with thousand on white trunks standing, which are the remains of the trees that were burned in 1975.
Within Alerce Costero National Monument we may found different bird species such as thrush (zorzales), black throated huet-huet, woodpecker (carpintero) and kestrel (cernícalo), among others.
The Coastal Alerce was declared National Monument at the end of 1976, and no living tree can be cut, since the specie is an endangered species; cutting it down is considered a felony.
The alerce forests are exclusive of the south of Chile and very rare in Argentina. The Alerce can reach the 4,000 years, in Alerce Costero National Monument exist ancient alerces. This tree grows in humid lands and of bad quality, often rocky lands. Its trunk is straight and its treetop ends up in a point. The Alerce reaches height of up to 196 feet. Depending if the year is rainy or not, the diameter of its trunk grows almost a millimeter per year; based on this growth its age can be calculated. Alerce is the common name of diverse trees of the Pinaceae family; deciduous and needle-leaf trees. Its scientific name is Fitroya cupressoides, in homage to the English Admiral Robert Fitz Roy, who carefully explored the austral coast of Chile between the years 1831 to 1836.
Alerce Costero National Monument has no camping services or other services for the tourist, since its intended only for exploration.
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