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Forest Service Co-organizes International Seminar on Protected Areas Management

Seminar participants at the University of Montana in Missoula. Forest Service photo.

WASHINGTON – The Forest Service International Programs office and the University of Montana organized the International Seminar on Protected Area Management from June 27 through July 17. Twenty-six people from 16 countries came together to learn about and discuss issues facing protected areas around the world. Participants came from foreign government agencies that manage protected areas, non-government organizations and U.S. Embassies.

International seminars are a way to share best practices from the U.S., promote global dialogue and deepen relationships with partner countries. The International Seminar on Protected Areas Management is one of ten international seminars organized by the FS International Programs office every year.

Using U.S. National Forests and National Parks as a classroom, participants briefly visited Washington and then headed west to visit some of the nation’s iconic protected areas in Montana and Wyoming. Multiple Forest Service units hosted the group: Lolo National Forest, Missoula Ranger District; Lewis and Clark National Forest, Rocky Mountain District; Custer Gallatin National Forest, Hebgen Lake District; and the Missoula Technology and Development Center. Agency staff discussed various themes with the visitors, including community engagement, visitor management, tourism and concessions, integrated planning, and transboundary land management. The group also visited Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.

The participants used the presentations and the information, knowledge and experiences brought from their home countries to hold discussions and Q&A sessions with each other and presenters. Some of the key topics of interest and discussion were wildlife management, building partnerships, balancing conservation and socioeconomic development, benefits sharing, community-based tourism, and balancing human needs with protected area management. The seminar ended with participants creating and presenting an action plan that they intend to accomplish in the next year in their home countries.