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Lake Konigssee in Berchtesgaden National Park - photo by Romi

Yosemite Hosts Delegation From Germany’s Sister Park

YOSEMITE — Yosemite National Park managers will be hosting a delegation from Sister Park, Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany, from June 19 to 25. During the visit, park managers will exchange ideas and practices and further the Sister Park Arrangement.

Berchtesgaden is located in the southern mountains of Germany near the Austrian border, a region famous for the filming of iconic scenes in the 1965 movie The Sound of Music. The park is involved in cooperative efforts with the Carpathian and the Caucasus Mountain Ranges in Central and Eastern Europe, and is currently working with other protected areas in the region.

Dr. Michael Vogel, Superintendent of Berchtesgaden National Park, visited Yosemite in June 2014 to explore the possibilities of mutual collaboration, and the formal arrangement between the two parks was signed in November 2014. Yosemite National Park was then able to send a delegation to Germany from May to June 2015.

Officials from both parks have identified challenges common to each that will form the foundation of their sister park relationship. These include resource management techniques, environmental education and youth engagement programs, managing visitor use, working with indigenous people, wildlife management, and partnerships with non-profit groups and local communities.

During the visit, 10 staff members from Berchtesgaden will engage in a series of meetings, workshops and field trips throughout Yosemite. Joining the delegation from Germany will be Honorary Yosemite National Park Ranger Horst Kaindl from Weissbach, Germany. Topics of discussion will include meadow restoration, visitor management, search and rescue, fire operations, tourism and relations with park partners.

On Thursday, June 23, at the edge of Cook’s Meadow, officials from the two parks will sign a work plan extension outlining mutual goals for the next five years.

Berchtesgaden National Park is located in the mountainous area south of the town of Berchtesgaden in the Free State of Bavaria, Federal Republic of Germany. The National Park was established in 1978 to protect the landscapes of the Berchtesgaden Alps, and was designated a United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve in 1990. Berchtesgaden is best known for its magnificent high mountain vistas, fabled blue and green lakes, spectacular waterfalls and unique wildlife.

Yosemite National Park currently has 12 sister parks around the world, and actively participates in staff and technical exchanges with each park and protected area for mutual benefit. The latest sister park arrangement was signed in April, 2016, with three parks in Nepal.

Yosemite National Park celebrated its 125th Anniversary last year and is currently celebrating its Centennial Anniversary with the National Park Service. The park welcomes over four million visitors from all over the world each year and serves as a strong economic engine for the region and local communities. Yosemite National Park generates $535 million in economic benefit to the local region and directly supports 6,261 jobs. The park is home to Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America, and iconic rock formations such as Half Dome and El Capitan. The park also features approximately 90 different species of mammals and over 1500 species of plants.

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