La Carmen: a ranch founded by Fuegian pioneers in the heart of the island
The beginning of everything…
The history of La Carmen was born at the beginning of the 20th century when Emilio Fernández (Milín) arrived in Tierra del Fuego when he was very young, as his father moved from Buenos Aires to the end of the world to work in the Ushuaia prison. his father moved from Buenos Aires to the End of the World to work in the Ushuaia Prison.. Here he grows up with his 6 younger siblings and begins to explore the surroundings of the village.
Then in 1937 Milín Fernández was part of the first group of the Territorial Police, which at the time that at that time were in charge of uniting the only two towns in Tierra del Fuego, to carry correspondence. At that time, from Ushuaia there were only improvised paths and trails that had to cross the Andes Mountains, go through the lush lenga forests where the last Shelk’nam tribes lived, wade through peat bogs, rivers and lagoons to reach the arid, windswept steppe until reaching Río Grande. This multi-day odyssey was done on foot or horseback and in winter they even traveled on skis.
This is how he became a great connoisseur of the southern area of Lake Fagnano (Khami). An inaccessible place that could only be reached on foot or on horseback. Finally, in the In the 1940s, the company asked the government for permission to use the land. and this request was accepted with the condition of settling there, hoisting the Argentine flag and developing a regional economic activity.
The history of the estancia begins when Milín Fernández settles on the shore of the lake, in Península Bay, very close to the border with Chile. The first years were dedicated to sheep raising and with time he moved eastward to the southern margin in search of better pastures. It was there that he founded Puesto La Carmen. But later it moved further eastward and near the Kosovo lagoon founded the Los Alamos ranch.. There he built the family house, sheds, corrals and paddocks.
The harsh winters, dense forest and few pastures under the trees made sheep farming difficult, but Milín never gave up. It was then that he decided to become pioneer in raising cows in the area and after a lot of hard work, he managed to create a breed suitable for the area and that provides good meat.
There he formed his family with Susana, nicknamed “la Negra”, and they had 9 children. They dedicated themselves not only to cattle raising but also to logging. This couple lived in this region until the day of their death and today they rest in the family cemetery located in the Estancia Los Alamos near the Pañuelo stream.
But before that, in the 1990s Adrian continued his father’s legacy and decided to settle in what used to be Puesto La Carmen, with his wife, Marcela, and their 4 children. There he finally founded the Estancia with the same name, located on a cozy beach on the lake next to a meadow.. It takes its name from another estancia located in the northern area of Lake Fagnano (Khami).
It has an area of 20,000 ha, has more than 300 head of cattle, a crossbreed of Hereford and Brown Swiss.. In addition to about twenty horses for breeding and work.
Today, tourism has become a key part of its economy. Since the creation of the estancia Adrián already had the vision of taking advantage of the place so that tourists and locals can enjoy this wonderful place. The visit to the Estancia is a traditional stop during the regular excursions to the Lakes departing from Ushuaia..
Today, the grandchildren of this pioneer who arrived in the early 1900s welcome tourists. Visitors enjoy the time touring the ranch’s main house, visiting the family home, taking pictures at the dock with the best views of Lake Fagnano (Khami) or walking along an interpretive trail into the Fuegian forest. Adventure tourism excursions also travel on an off-road trail with four-wheel drive vehicles. It also offers camping sites, overnight stays in cabins and beaver watching.
Useful Information: La Carmen
From Ushuaia, take National Route N 3 north 60 km, before arriving at Villa Marina you will find the Estancia’s gate. It can be reached by regular excursions to Escondido and Fagnano Lakes, 4×4 Lake excursion or by car.
A few meters down the road you will come across an active beaver you will come across an active beaver plantation. The reservoir, the burrow and the surrounding felled trees can be easily observed. There will also be informative posters about this Invasive Alien Species.
As you travel the 7 km to the Estancia you will be able to contemplate the centenary lenga forest. It is an excellent tour to be able to observe the beards of an old man or an Indian that hang from the trees, these lichens are great indicators of clean air. Driving with caution is recommended due to the presence of livestock or wildlife. If you are a good observer you may encounter a fox in the area. Flocks of cachañas, southern parakeets and a couple of giant woodpeckers can also be observed.
At the end of the road, the forest will open up for you to see the imposing
Fagnano Lake, a large fresh water reservoir of more than 100 km of extension.
. From there you will be able to see the Estancia’s main house. It has a cafeteria, public restrooms, pier and wooden walkways.
In addition, there are signs with information on flora and fauna. A small family museum, a grotto of the Virgin of the Miraculous Medal and a camping area. It can be visited all year round except during the winter months.