WASHINGTON, DC—In late August, the Forest Service International Programs office partnered with National Forest System and the University of Montana to conduct a pilot course on recreation planning in Missoula, Montana, for Forest Service employees. Eighteen employees attended.
The training program focused on building the capacity of national forest planners to implement the Sustainable Recreation Planning Rule. Organizers also designed the workshop as a test workshop, during which draft exercises and workshop products were vetted by participants. International Programs and NFS are now using feedback from participants to revise the content and flow of training materials. This iterative process draws from the wisdom and experience of diverse practitioners to ensure training relevance, while continuing to build knowledge and capacity in the field of recreation and tourism planning.
From the Forest Service side, the individuals involved in planning the workshop included Tinelle Bustam, national assistant director for Recreation Tourism and Public Services; Lis Novak, national recreation planner; Trini Juarez, National Forest System; and Claudia Mielke, who recently retired.
International Programs previously asked Forest Service recreation planners to develop trainings in Brazil—Forest Service leadership then asked for the Brazil model to be used as the basis for domestic training opportunities.
In Brazil, growing public use of the country’s national parks and other protected areas requires planning to ensure protection of natural heritage and high quality visitor experiences. With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Forest Service has provided extensive support to Brazil’s agency that manages all of the country’s federal parks and national forests, including building capacity for public use planning. By engaging managers and university staff, the Forest Service and Brazilian government have together harmonized diverse knowledge and skills to create training products that use best available science, address key management questions and utilize creative and effective teaching techniques.