October 21, 2014
Steven Prokop, 707-465-7301
Jeff Bomke, 707-465-7301
Jeff Denny, 707-465-7760
This week, Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) is hosting officials from Chile's Parque Nacional Alerce Costero (PNAC) and the Corporacion Nacional Forestal de Chile (CONAF), the agency that oversees Chile's national park system. RNSP and PNAC signed a formal Sister Park arrangement in September 2013. In the past year, RNSP has sent a trails maintenance specialist and forest restoration specialist to Chile to work with PNAC staff on their developing programs. This week's visit by the Chilean park staff will focus on developing park partnerships, managing visitor impacts, forest restoration, youth education, and fire management. The cost of this visit is being financed from a grant from the United States Department of State and CONAF.
Among the participants from Parque Nacional Alerce Costero will be the Los Rios Regional Director of CONAF, the Los Rios Regional Director of Park and Protected Areas, an Environmental Educator from PNAC, and the Los Rios Regional Director of Fire Management. Site visits to park campgrounds, trails, outdoor schools, recent prescribed fire locations, and several restoration projects are planned.
In addition to park staff, the Chilean delegation will meet with many other park partners. Groups including the Save-the-Redwoods League, Redwood Parks Association, Humboldt State University, the Yurok Tribe, Elk Valley Rancheria, Smith River Rancheria, US Forest Service, CalFire, CalTrans, National Weather Service, US Coast Guard, McKinleyville EcoClub, and Fuente Nueva School will all share their experience working in partnership with Redwood National and State Parks.
RNSP and PNAC share amazingly similar histories, resources, and character. PNAC is Chile's newest national park established to protect the last remaining forests of coastal alerce trees (Fitzroya cupressoides), the tallest trees in South America and the second oldest living trees in the world. Forests within both parks are heavily impacted by decades of commercial logging and face years of intensive restoration efforts to restore old-growth forest conditions. Rural communities historically dependent on commercial timber industry surround the parks, as do indigenous communities with long histories and traditions within park lands. Lying on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at similar latitudes north and south of the equator, the parks have remarkably similar coastal climates with moderate temperatures and ample annual rainfall, and landscapes created and shaped by earthquakes and tsunamis.
The National Park Service's Sister Parks Program recognizes that parks around the world are linked together by a variety of natural and cultural phenomena. Where park resources and issues are similar, sharing experiences and best practices leads to better park management in both places. To date, the National Park Service and National Forest Corporation of Chile (CONAF), the managing agency of Chile's national park lands, have developed sister park agreements between Yosemite and Torres del Paine National Parks, and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska and the Francisco Coloane Marine and Coastal Protected Area in Chile. In 2010, the NPS received funding from the US State Department to develop joint projects under a US-Chile environmental cooperation agreement.
For further information on this week's activities or the Sister Park Agreement between Redwood National and State Parks and Parque Nacional Alerce Costero, please contact Stephen Prokop or Jeff Bomke at 707-465-7301, or Jeff Denny at 707-465-7760.