More than 30 NPS sites currently maintain active relationships with parks in other countries. Many are located along the U.S.- Mexico & U.S.-Canada borders, where international cooperation is particularly important. For example, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona has a successful relationship with the Pinacate and Alto de Golfo Biosphere Reserves in Mexico. The three protected areas cooperate in monitoring shared species, such as bats & reptiles, & the Sonoran pronghorn, as well as air quality monitoring.
In southeastern Arizona and northern Sonora, the NPS sites at Chiracahua National Monument, Fort Bowie National Historic Site and Coronado work closely with Mexico’s Ajos-Bavispe Bioshpere Reserve. These parks collaborate in variety of activities, including bird monitoring, research into the effects of fire management practices, and training in search & rescue and environmental education.
Along the Rio Grande river that separates the U.S. & Mexico, Big Bend National Park (left) works with the Maderas del Carmen and Cañon de Santa Elena Flora and Fauna Protection Areas. The three protected areas cooperate in species monitoring, water quality monitoring, invasive species removal, and training in fire fighting and management.
Perhaps the “ultimate” Sister Park relationship exists between Glacier NP & Canada’s Waterton Lakes NP. In 1932 they were designated by the U.S. & Canada as Glacier Waterton International Peace Park, the world’s first transfrontier park. In 1995 the parks were jointly designated a World Heritage Site. In 1998, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska and Canada’s Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site were designated by both governments as the Klondike Gold Rush International Historical Park. Many U.S. & Canadian parks cooperate across the entire spectrum of park issues.
Sister park relationships are benefiting from public-private partnerships, particularly some of the newest sister parks, established with Asian and European counterpart protected areas. Yosemite NP’s relationship with China’s Huangshan NP is supported by the Yosemite Fund, while Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP’s relationship with Cambodia’s Samlaut Protected Area has the backing of the Maddox-Jolie Project. Rocky Mountain NP has also established a trilateral sister park relationship with the transboundary national parks of Poland & Slovakia, both known as Tatras NP, while Cape Krusenstern NM in Alaska is now partnered with Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord. Both of these sister park partnerships were initiated by U.S. Embassies in the host countries.
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