Yosemite National Park and Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany have signed a sister park arrangement. The formal arrangement outlines the commitment from both parks to foster international cooperation in preserving these protected areas. The arrangement was signed by Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher and Dr. Michael Vogel, Berchtesgaden National Park Director, in October 2014.
“We are honored and excited to begin this formal relationship with Berchtesgaden National Park,” Neubacher said. “Both parks share many features, including spectacular scenery and diverse wildlife, and we are confident that this relationship will produce a myriad of benefits for both parks.”
“Being the only high mountain National Park in Germany, we are dependent on international cooperation,” Vogel explained. “We also feel honored to have the opportunity to interact and share common knowledge and experiences with Yosemite National Park.”
This agreement signifies the fourth formal sister park arrangement for Yosemite National Park. The three other parks that Yosemite has formal arrangements with include Huangshan National Park and Jiuzhaigou National Park in China, and Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in Chile. Yosemite is also working with parks in Nepal, Tanzania, and Mongolia and intends to establish formal relationships with these parks.
Berchtesgaden National Park is one of the leading parks in Europe currently working with other protected areas. The park is involved in cooperative efforts with the Carpathian and the Caucasus mountain ranges in central and eastern Europe.
Yosemite National Park and Berchtesgaden National Park have identified issues common to both parks 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.
The arrangement also details the commitment from each park to participate in staff exchanges. Vogel visited Yosemite in July 2014 to tour the park and discuss the potential for collaboration. Yosemite National Park anticipates sending staff to Berchtesgaden National Park in 2015.
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. The park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1990 and is best known for its magnificent high mountain vistas, fabled blue and green lakes, spectacular waterfalls, and its unique wildlife.
Berchtesgaden’s alpine scree fields, alpine grassland and scrub, subalpine, montane, and sub-montane forests, mountain meadows and lakes mirror nearly identical features in Yosemite National Park. Both parks also feature a diversity of wildlife including deer, eagles, and marmots.