Since 1973, the number of parks and protected areas globally has swelled from 1,200 to more than 100,000. In this leadership role, the Park Service has shared its talents, expertise, and experiences with many international partnerships. These partnerships were created to establish, sustain and strengthen parks, heritage sites, and other types of protected areas.
There are 45 sister parks in eighteen countries. Thirty National Park Units are actively involved in these sister park relationships. Twelve of these ‘sister parks’ are in our neighbor to the south, Mexico. Both Canada and Mexico share common natural and historical events. Many of these sister park relations are built on this, as with Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta and Glacier National Park, Montana. The same cooperative design is also being used with Big Bend National Park, Texas; Maderas del Carmen, state of Coahuila, Mexico; and Canon de Santa Elena WPA, state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Other pairings are based on common operational issues, i.e., Kampinoski National Park, Poland with Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana; or the Lake Superior parks of Canada and the U.S.; Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan.
The National Park Service provides technical support to numerous intentional partners, beyond the support managed through the ‘Sister Park’ Program. Technical support is provided through programs at the National Park Service training facilities in the United States and at U.S. Parks and through the dispatch of technical teams to a host country.
Canada - In 1998, the Service and Parks Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a program of technical exchange and cooperation. The MOU was renewed in 2003.
Latin America and Caribbean – Years of technical support have created numerous relationships. In 2009, major programs were under way in Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile, and Haiti.
North Africa and the Middle East - In 2008, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Department of the Interior's International Technical Assistance Program (ITAP) brought Two Jordanians and one Bahraini wildlife specialist to US national parks to work with NPS wildlife biologists. Here, they learn and observe how to manage threatened and endangered species.
Asia – Technical teams and sister park relationship allow China, Korea, Japan, and Cambodia to share skills and techniques.
Africa- Since 1995, the National Park Service and South Africa have worked on numerous park projects. Additionally, technical support and training has been provided to eighteen other nations in Africa.
World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites have enough universally recognized natural and cultural features that they are considered to merit the protection of all the peoples in the world. The National Park Service is responsible for 16 of the 19 World Heritage Sites in the United States.
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
- Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
- Everglades National Park, Florida
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
- Independence Hall, Pennsylvania
- Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, Alaska, U.S./ B.C. & Yukon, Canada
- Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
- Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
- Olympic National Park, Washington
- Redwood National and State Parks, California
- Statue of Liberty, New York
- Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (union of Waterton Lakes (Canada) and Glacier (U.S.) parks), Montana & Alberta, Canada
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, extending into Montana and Idaho
- Yosemite National Park, California
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