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Located within Parque Nacional Lanín, the area around Lago Quillén provides visitors with a quiet and unfrequented location from which there are excellent views of the volcano. With a surface area of only 23 km2, Quillén is one of the smaller lakes in the region. Most visitors will find the cold glacial waters of Lago Quillén to be too uncomfortable for swimming. The lake drains into Rio Quillén, which eventually turns into Rio Alumine. Lago Quillén's secluded location helps protect the flora and fauna in the area, and the lake has a very healthy salmon population that attracts fishers. There are several easy day hikes in the area, but to go on a longer overnight hike from Lago Quillén to another lake, you will need to check with the Park Rangers (guardaparque) stationed at the lake first. Camping Pudu Pudu is operated by local Mapuche people and sits along the Lake's northern shore. The campsites provide visitors with a convenient and affordable lodging option as well as showers and a small store that sells food. On the eastern edge of the lake and along the river, sits Estancia Quillén, which was once a part of a sawmill operation but now offers upscale lodging (

Indigenous Mapuche peoples have populated the Quillén territory near the lake for hundreds of years, and in their language, “Quillén” translates to “strawberry.” Since the Desert Campaign, which wiped out and forcibly removed many Mapuches from the area, relations between the government and the Mapuche community have been tense. The federal government allocated some land to the Mapuche people, but they believe that land is less fertile and less meaningful than much of the other land in the area. As a result, many Mapuche occupy land in the Quillén region that the government does not recognize as theirs. National laws are in place that restrict anyone's ability to forcibly remove the Mapuche people. Anyone who believes they own land that is being occupied by the Mapuche must go through a four-year legal process so the indigenous people have a reasonable period of time to prove the land is theirs. In recent years, however, tensions have escalated between the Neuquen provincial government and the Mapuche families living near Lago Quillén over land that the Mapuches believe is sacred to their people, but which the government argues belongs to private landowners.


Other places nearby Quillén: Lago Huechulafquen, Villa Pehuenia, Rucachoroi, Moquehue and Lago Norquinco.

17 Aug 2010

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