Smokies Signs Sister Park Arrangement with Thailand Park
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (865) 436-1207
Great Smoky Mountains National Park established its first Sister Park Arrangement with Khao Yai National Park in Thailand. Smokies Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson and Khao Yai National Park Superintendent Krissada Homsud signed the Arrangement today at a ceremony at Park Headquarters.
Although not exactly twins, the two parks share a number of similar resources and protected area management and operational concerns. The significant biodiversity of both Khao Yai and Great Smoky Mountains is at the center of their mission, significance, and challenges. Both parks are the most visited National Parks within their country presenting similar challenges associated with high visitor use along with potential impacts due to adjacent land use and development. Both parks are popular for spectacular wildlife viewing, streams and waterfalls, and lush mountain forests.
“We are honored to form this unique partnership with Khao Yai National Park which shares so many similarities with the Smokies,” said Park Superintendent Ditmanson. “There has already been an incredible exchange of information among our staff and Superintendent Homsud over the past couple of days and we look forward to continued sharing and learning through this relationship.”
Currently, Superintendent Homsud is traveling in the United States with a group of nine park managers from Thailand through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) which is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. The participants met this week with Park managers, biologists, entomologists, educators, historians, and facility managers offering the opportunity to learn about resources in the field and to cultivate relationships for future information exchange.
“Great Smoky Mountains National Park shares many similarities with Khao Yai, but the Smokies are one step ahead in public involvement in caring for the Park and we look forward to learning from their staff,” said Khao Yai Park Superintendent Homsud. “In Khao Yai, we still have problems with encroachment and poaching. We are impressed by how well the Park here works with the public and neighboring communities.”
Several National Park Service sites have established "sister park" relationships with national parks in other countries. These partnerships increase information sharing and direct park-to-park contacts to address common issues.
For more information on the National Park Sister program, please visithttp://www.nps.gov/oia/topics/
Did You Know?
The park’s high elevation heath balds are treeless expanses where dense thickets of shrubs such as mountain laurel, rhododendron, and sand myrtle grow. Known as “laurel slicks” and “hells” by early settlers, heath balds were most likely created by forest fires long ago. More...