September 29, 2016: Yosemite National Park, California.  Sister parks signing at Res #1.
September 29, 2016: Yosemite National Park, California. Sister parks signing at Res #1.

Oct. 19, 2016 – Yosemite National Park signed three new sister park agreements on Thursday, September 29, 2016 with Cumbres de Monterrey National Park in Mexico, Blue Mountains National Park in Australia, and Wadi Rum Protected Area in Jordan. Park officials joined Yosemite Acting Superintendent Linda Mazzu to sign a formal agreement between each park and Yosemite, which cemented a formal relationship as the National Park Service enters a second century of service.

A goal of Yosemite National Park has been to strengthen international relations and to enhance the International Affairs program at Yosemite by establishing a sister park on six continents, excluding Antarctica. This allows Yosemite to share information and resources, learn from fellow Rangers and park managers across the globe, share best practices in park management, exchange technical assistance, and expand opportunities for collaboration in the areas of resource management.

“We are elated to formally welcome three new international sister parks,” stated Mike Gauthier, Yosemite Chief of Staff and International Affairs Program Manager. “We are excited to collaborate with our peers and bring Rangers from across the world together as we work to address many challenges facing parks and protected areas worldwide.”

Yosemite National Park has signed 15 sister park agreements with parks in 9 countries: Blue Mountains National Park – Australia, Torres del Paine National Park – Chile, Huangsham and Jiuzhaigou National Parks – China, Berchtesgaden National Park – Germany, Wadi Rum Protected Area – Jordan, Cumbres de Monterrey – Mexico, Lake Hovsgol and Tengis-Shishged National Parks, Ulaan Taiga, and Horidal Saridog strictly protected areas – Mongolia, Chitwan, Langtang, and Sagarmatha National Parks – Nepal, and Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Tanzania.

This significant signing ceremony was the capstone event of Yosemite’s first International Symposium, titled “Partners in Global Conservation.” This event brought together over 60 people, including representatives from almost all of Yosemite’s sister parks, staff from Yosemite National Park, members of the Yosemite Gateway Community, and park partners including Yosemite Conservancy, Yosemite Hospitality, Global Parks, Nature Bridge, and Mongol Ecology Center. It also worked to build a stronger community of practice among rangers and park partners across the world.