WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Seminar on Protected Area Management, co-organized by the USDA Forest Service office of International Programs and the University of Montana, took place from July 7 through 27. Eighteen people from 10 countries gathered to discuss issues facing protected areas around the world. Participants represented foreign government agencies that manage protected areas, non-governmental organizations and U.S. Embassies.
Using National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks and Native American tribal lands as a classroom, participants gained a deeper understanding of what is involved in Protected Area Management in municipal, wildland and national park environments. Multiple Forest Service units hosted the group: Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot National Forest and Flathead National Forest. Forest Service staff discussed various themes with the visitors, including community engagement, visitor management, fire management, integrated planning and transboundary land management. Participants also visited Glacier National Park, Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge and a variety of urban protected areas in Washington, D.C.
The participants used the information shared during these presentations and the information, knowledge, and experiences brought from their home countries to hold discussions and Q&A sessions with each other and with the presenters. Some of the key topics of interest and discussion were wildlife management, restoration, building partnerships, balancing conservation and socioeconomic development, benefits sharing, community-based tourism, recreation management 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.
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 eleven international seminars organized by the Forest Service International Programs office every year.