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Office of the Secretary
For Release: March 24, 2006
Contact: Isabel Benemelis-Nicoli

Interior Deputy Secretary P. Lynn Scarlett and Undersecretary Felipe Adrian Vasquez of the Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources, Officially Designate Seven Sister Parks During 2006 U.S.- Mexico Bi-national Commission

WASHINGTON -Deputy Secretary of the Interior P. Lynn Scarlett and her Mexican counterpart, Felipe Adrian Vasquez, Undersecretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), signed a Joint Declaration of Sister Park Partnerships, officially designating seven sister area relationships between the two countries.

"For the past several years, the National Park Service (NPS), and the National Commission on Natural and Protected Areas (CONANP), have met and developed plans for implementing sister park relationships where there are shared resources and common management challenges," said Scarlett. "Today, we celebrate the success of the sister park initiative and look to build on this partnership by extending our cooperation for another five years under a new agreement also to be signed today."

Under the Sister Park initiative, NPS sites provided their Mexican counterparts with training in a variety of fields, helped set up monitoring protocols, developed interpretive materials, and in one case, provided a sister park with surplus U.S. firefighting equipment. Mexican parks, in return, provided the NPS with much needed assistance in controlling invasive species, fighting wild land fires, monitoring of shared species, and more.

"I'm very happy that the agreement has been extended," said Vasquez. "The sister park initiative is a good example of how Mexico and the U.S. can create synergies and opportunities of mutual benefit by working collaboratively in the management of natural resources along the border and in other natural protected areas beyond."

The seven parks designated under the Declaration of Sister Park Partnerships include:

  • Big Bend National Park with Maderas del Carmen & Cañón de Santa Elena Flora and Fauna Protected Areas
  • Saguaro National Park with Sierra San Pedro Mártir National Park and Constitución 1857 National Park
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument with El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve
  • White Sands National Monument with Cuatrocienegas Flora and Fauna Protected Area
  • Chiricahua National Monument with Ajos-Bavispe Conservation Area and Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Álamos Biosphere Reserve
  • Coronado National Memorial, Fort Bowie National Historic Site & Tumacacori National Historic Park with El Chico National Park
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park with La Michilía Biosphere Reserve.
Regarding future cooperation, NPS and CONANP have been discussing, along with Parks Canada, plans to develop international training programs on park management, joint monitoring protocols throughout North America, interpretive exhibits on shared migratory species (such as the Monarch Butterfly), and an increased focus on marine protected areas.

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NPS Sister Parks Website: Lynn Scarlett with Felipe Adrian Vasquez Lynn Scarlett with Felipe Adrian Vasquez