El Cañi Sanctuary is one of the oldest private natural parks in Chile, managed by the local Mapuche community. Located in the Araucanía Region, Chile, it has 500 hectares of native temperate rain forests with thousand years old araucarias, 12 crystalline lagoons of volcanic origin, a great diversity of avifauna and a splendid scenery of snow-capped volcanoes, some of them still active.
I was asked to design a map and a simple orientation system of the area that should enhance nature and invite visitors to enrich their experience by observation and learning about the environment instead of just trekking directly to the volcano viewpoints. It had to be durable, of low cost and functional both in the snowy winter and in the summer.
For these purposes, 9 resting and observation points were identified with community engagement, seeking to show the area’s history, geography, flora and fauna. Each one of these points was represented by a name and symbol inspired in the indigenous Mapuche culture.
A system of symbols closely related to nature was designed. Each pictogram enabled to know more about the area, incorporating the community’s knowledge and including compositions of great local poets. The map also contains an illustrated guide of the park’s flora and fauna. It is still in use and is reprinted to hand over to visitors.
The 9 signs identifying the spaces and their variations were built, using wood from the local notofagus Coigüe and Hualle trees discarded at close sawmills.
At the entrance of the park, a wooden structure was built and a big illustrated map painted on it, to guide tourists and orient large groups about the complex geography of El Cañi Sanctuary.