International Workshop on Tourism Partnerships in Protected Areas

18 August 2011 | Article

Engaging partners in the care of the world's over 120,000 national parks and protected areas was the focus of a recent international workshop held in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Yosemite National Park in the US state of California.

The workshop included representatives from countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, and from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature's World Commission on Protected Areas.

Participants discussed ways to generate revenue streams, develop supportive legal and policy environments at the national level, enhance facilities and programs to increase public use of and support for parks and reserves, engage partnerships with other governmental, academic, NGO, and for-profit partners, and empower and benefit local communities in an era of tightly constrained budgets and limited manpower for government conservation agencies.

The US National Park Service's experience as one of the world's oldest park systems - and one in which the private sector has always played an active role - was presented and evaluated for both strengths and weaknesses. The two host parks highlighted their own multifaceted partnerships that include leases and concessions as well as cooperative agreements with non-profit organizations.

World Heritage sites such as Komodo National Park in Indonesia and Iguacu National Park in Brazil were also studied for how they work with concessions, communities and other for-profit and non-profit entities. The workshop was sponsored by the National Park Service's Office of International Affairs and the Commercial Services Program, in conjunction with Colorado State University's Center for Protected Area Management and Training (CPAMT).

"The National Park Service is proud to convene this gathering of park professionals from around the world to plan and develop best practices that will help all of us better engage the private sector and nonprofit partners in the care of critical natural and cultural resources throughout the world's protected areas," said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis.

"For a century CSU has played a leading role in supporting parks and reserves both in the US and globally through training, research and outreach. We are pleased to partner with USNPS in this important effort to foster improved stewardship of the world's protected areas," said Jim Barborak, Director of CSU's Center for Protected Area Management and Training.

James R. (Jim) Barborak
Director, Center for Protected Area Management and Training
Colorado State University Warner College of Natural Resources-HDNR