When managers at Crater Lake National Park were approached about developing a sister park, or "twinning," agreement with Triglav National Park in Slovenia, their first task was figuring out where in the world is Slovenia.
Since that Where's Waldo moment in late 2015, steps leading to an agreement have continued and will culminate with the signing of a formal sister park agreement May 25 at Triglav, Slovenia's only national park.
Crater Lake Superintendent Craig Ackerman and park administrative assistant Sean Denniston will lead a delegation that includes the presidents of three park support groups: Jerry Jacobson of the Crater Lake Natural History Association, Bill Thorndike of the Crater Lake Trust, and Barry Gint of the Friends of Crater Lake. Ackerman said he invited the trio because the groups provide the park with funding for programs and volunteers for work projects.
"We see this as an opportunity to partner with another national park with similar interests and concerns," Ackerman said of the "twinning." In envisioning an "active working relationship," he noted Crater Lake's education coordinator John Duwe, who manages the park's science and learning center, will spent two weeks at Triglva in June. A Slovenia television station is considering focusing a documentary film about the visit. It's possible a delegation from Triglav will visit Crater Lake this summer.
"I think it definitely shows real potential for both parks to share information," Ackerman said, noting both have concerns about declining fish populations — marble trout at Triglav and bull trout in streams at Crater Lake — along with resource protection and restoration issues.
He said Triglav managers are interested in seeing how Crater Lake managers work with surrounding communities. Unlike U.S. national parks, many European national parks, including Triglav, have towns and villages within their park boundaries. Ackerman said there are agricultural areas, including farms and sheep grazing, at Triglav. He said Denniston, who oversees Crater Lake's relationship with the park's concessionaire, Xanterra, is joining him because of Denniston's expertise in contracts and interacting with communities.
"The tour is important so we can develop an action plan," Ackerman said of the three-day tour of Triglav before the signing ceremonies, which will provide him and others with an overview of the park. "I don't know what Triglav is about. You can read about things, but it's not the same as being there, by looking at what's actually happening."
As an example, he noted people from other areas lack an appreciation of the impact of snow at Crater Lake, which has already received more than its average seasonal snowfall of 524 inches, until they visit the park.
Following the visit, Ackerman expects the to-be developed action plan will be used to determine specific issues, set priorities for resolving those issues and help plan ways to work together.
"They're sharp and on their game," he said of impressions of Triglav and Slovenian officials during various conversations.
"I think there's some real meat on the bones," Ackerman said of learning about and discussing issues regarding Triglav. "The fact that it happens to be one of the most spectacular areas of the world is a bonus."
— Reach Lee Juillerat at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-880-4139.