National Geographic : 1975 Mar
we're trying to develop science, technology, arts, and human resources to improve the quality of life in Argentina." Abundant electricity is already at hand. Huge dams draw clean power from Pata gonia's mountain streams. I saw one project near Esquel, 125 miles south of Bariloche. Esquel is the gateway to Los Alerces Na tional Park, 650,000 acres of wild flowers, forests, and lakes untrammeled by tourists. I spent two days at the park with Rene Egg mann and his wife, Carmen. My friend Rene is Swiss, a lean man with hulking shoulders. Carmen is as merry as her Danish forebears. After immigrating 37 years ago, Rene taught skiing until he broke both legs. For years, only the rising value of their land kept the Eggmanns and many other Patagonian pioneers alive: They bought a few acres, built a home, subdivided, sold, and bought anew. Now they raise livestock and tulips under Esquel's snow peaks (below). Carmen served fresh fruit, cream from a hand-cranked separator, bacon, and home made bread with currant jelly. Then we all journeyed to the Futaleufu damsite through wide valleys carpeted with dandelions and dotted with sheep. Welsh sheepherders pio neered this Patagonian province-Chubut - and gave their names to many of its towns: Trevelin, Trelew, Gaiman, Rawson. Argentinians raise almost as many sheep as cattle, mostly in Patagonia. From a precipice we saw how the Futaleufu dam will wedge between two mountains and deepen by 300 feet a big lake cupped by cliffs.