Colorado State University Co-Sponsors International Workshop on Tourism in National Parks and Protected Areas

A recent international workshop, co-sponsored by Colorado State University, was held in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Yosemite National Park in California that focused on engaging partners in the care of the world’s more than 120,000 national parks and protected areas.

The workshop included representatives from countries all around the world as well as 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, and enhance facilities and programs to increase public use of and support for parks and reserves. They also reviewed efforts of conservation agencies to develop partnerships with other governmental and non-governmental organizations, academic and for-profit entities, and empower and benefit local communities in an era of tightly constrained budgets and limited manpower for government conservation agencies.

“For a century, CSU has played a leading role in supporting parks and reserves both in the United States and globally through training, research and outreach. We are pleased to partner with the U.S. National Park Service 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.

The U.S. 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 strengths and weaknesses. Both Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Yosemite National Park 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 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.

The workshop was sponsored by the National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs and the Commercial Services Program in conjunction with Colorado State’s Center for Protected Area Management and Training.