"Well let's put it this way," he said over the plane's headsets, "I hope it will stay that way. I only have a few more years over which I might be able to exercise a little bit of control over that."
There is already a plan in place to transfer Pumalin from the private foundation to the people of Chile as the country's newest national park. But not yet. While the Tompkinses are alive they still have more work to do here.
Some older Chileans may still be suspect of the Tompkinses' motives, but a group of Boy Scouts from Santiago we met in Pumalin may represent the ultimate vindication of the Tompkinses' dream.
Seeing Pumalin for themselves, they are awed by what the Americans have accomplished. And by the Americans themselves. One of them approached Doug. "Are you the King of Pumalin?" the scout asked.
For once, Doug was at a loss for words. A little embarrassed, a little flattered.
The boys put a scout tie around Doug's neck. "We are proud of you," a young scout said to him, "because you have created this beautiful park for all the world to enjoy."
Doug smiled. There might be just a hint of a lump in his throat.
For more information on Pumalin Park, go to www.pumalinpark.org.
For a map of the park, click here.