aldivia has been a vibrant city since the 19th century, with a constantly increasing population. This growth brought about an increased demand for wood.
In 1898 the first forestry company was founded in Neltume and in 1942 a big timber factory was constructed. In subsequent years, production of doors and windows began. Neltume grew, with forestry employing some 500 people.
The local airstrip is noteworthy. The long-gone Lipa Sur Airways operated flights here, and among its pilots was the pioneering Margot Duhalde, a legend in Chilean aviation history.
In the early 70´s the Allende government nationalized the forestry companies in Neltume and created the state owned “Complejo Forestal y Maderero de Panguipulli”. The state employed 3.600 workers, in an area of 360, 000 hectares, with sawmills spread all over the Valdivian cordillera.In the early 70´s the Allende government nationalized the forestry companies in Neltume and created the state owned “Complejo Forestal y Maderero de Panguipulli”. The state employed 3.600 workers, in an area of 360, 000 hectares, with sawmills spread all over the Valdivian cordillera.
In the beginning of this century the development of the privately owned Huilo Huilo Natural Reserve began. The reserve covers an area of 60,000 hectares of Valdivian forest, and includes natural hotsprings, unexplored lakes and direct access to the Mocho Choshuenco volcano. A new philosophy was introduced – the founders wanted to transform the surrounding communities from being wholly dependent on forestry to becoming more and more focused on conservation and sustainability.
As the Huilo Huilo project has developed, a fresh chapter has opened for local communities. The beautiful landscapes, the diverse flora and fauna and the magnificent forest are regarded from a completely new perspective. The open entrepreneurial spirit of the local people has embraced the changes that have come in the process of converting a traditional forestry community into a sustainable tourist destination committed to conservation.
A few years ago, Huilo Huilo acquired 40.000 hectares of traditional forestry land on the north side of the Pirehueico Lake, with the intention of including it in the Nature Reserve.