The Establishment of a Sister Parks relationship with Yosemite National Park, USA

On July 18, 2015, Lake Hovsgol National Park, Horidal Saridag Strictly Protected Area, Tengis Shishgid National Park, and Ulaan Taiga Strictly Protected Area became “Sister Parks” with Yosemite National Park in the United States. Tom Medema, Chief of Interpretation and Education at Yosemite National Park, and Director J. Tumursukh, of the Ulaan Taiga Administration, and Director L. Davaabayar, of Lake Hovsgol National Park, signed the official sister park arrangement. The signing ceremony was held at the foothills of Horidal Saridag Mountains.

The arrangement covers areas related to resource management, interpretation & education, visitor services, visitor and resource protection, in-park transportation, and the overall enhancement of each park’s operational capacity.

Throughout this process, the MEC played a key role in facilitating and developing this relationship, and in bringing together all the parties to finalize and sign the agreements.


Pictures Rocks Becomes Sister Park with Mongolia's Lake Hovsgol

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, on behalf of other NPS units of the Great Lakes area, has established a sister park relationship with Mongolia’s Lake Hovsgol National Park

The signing ceremony was held at the Embassy of Mongolia, in Washington, DC, and hosted by Mongolia’s Ambassador to the United States, the Honorable Khasbazaryn Bekhbat, and his staff. 

Although not twins, the two parks share enough to be ‘sisters’ -- associations with large bodies of fresh water, the Great Lakes of North America and Lake Hovsgol, and the relatively undeveloped natures of the park areas. Although they are of different types and origins, they are dominated by pristine shorelines, diverse upland ecosystems and remarkable scenic landscapes. The lakes associated with these parks are listed among the largest in the world.

The purpose of the sister park relationship is to promote international cooperation and support for the mutual benefit of the parks and to enrich the experience and training of the personnel of these parks through projects of international cooperation.  The relationship allows the sisters to benefit by sharing experiences and approaches to collaboration, including local efforts to work with gateway communities, regional and local economies, friends groups and partner organizations. This may be accomplished primarily through the exchange of managerial, technical and professional knowledge, information, data, technology, training, and experience.

Examples of potential areas of cooperation may include:

  • Sharing the results of scientific research of mutual interest.
  • Resource management methods and techniques for restoration of previously degraded shorelines or otherwise altered wetlands, forest and other habitat restoration, control of exotic or alien species, monitoring of air and water quality.
  • Electronic communication and technical information exchanges, including software programs for science and resource management applications.
  • Environmental education techniques, programs, and facilities, including plans and designs for youth education camps and curriculum.
  • Recreation and ecotourism management and planning, including private and public partnerships for development and economic development.
  • Development of volunteer and “Friends” organizations for park support.
  • Discussing and promoting the role of protected areas in civil societies and in promoting peace between neighboring countries.
  • Promoting the importance of protecting areas in promoting public health and well being.
  • Promoting the economic benefits of parks.
  • Working cooperatively to better understand the impacts of climate change on large lake ecosystems and surrounding environs.
  • Working to improve the relationship with gateway communities and other stakeholders important to effective stewardship.

Much of the impetus for the sister park relationship arose from the partnerships forged with both the Mongolian NGO ‘Mongol Ecology Center’ and the U.S. NGO ‘Global Parks,’ whose staffs have worked closely together over the past year to visit and assess current conditions and needs at Mongolia’s iconic national park – Hovsgol.

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