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Sister act - a landmark agreement between Wild Nephin and Yosemite

Today marks the beginning of a new Sister Park arrangement between Wild Nephin National Park in Co. Mayo and Yosemite National Park in California, which I first announced back in November. This historic agreement was signed today by Catriona Ryan, Director of National Parks and Nature Reserves at the NPWS and Cicely Muldoon, Superintendent of Yosemite National Park.

The Sister Park agreement will run over five years and will enable international co-operation between both parks to support their shared goals in nature conservation and promoting natural and cultural tourism. It will facilitate information exchange, collaboration and sharing good practice in areas such as community engagement, cultural and visitor service management, forestry and fire management, wilderness and dark sky management and climate change.

It's a really exciting opportunity for both parks. While they may differ in size and geographical features, the challenges faced in both Wild Nephin and Yosemite are very similar. Those challenges include balancing nature conservation with visitor impact, preserving the ecological and cultural heritage of these special places, controlling invasive species, and educating new generations.

In that sense this agreement is a timely reminder that the challenge of protecting biodiversity is both a local and a global one, but it also marks another connection in the shared history of Ireland and the USA, and one that has a special meaning here in Co. Mayo.

Both Killarney National Park and Connemara National Park have seen the benefits of sister park arrangements, and it’s great to see another of our National Parks participate in an international partnership like this. They are pathways to new thinking and ideas, and they create a sense of solidarity that is hugely motivating for our dedicated national parks staff.

I've spent a lot of time in Wild Nephin over my term as Minister and I know our NPWS staff are looking forward to tapping into the wealth of knowledge at Yosemite National Park over the next five years. Wild Nephin may be the younger sister in this arrangement between our National Parks, but we also have much to share in terms of our conservation work, along with our community and stakeholder engagement. Forestry and woodlands restoration, fire management and dark skies are just some of the themes we’re hoping to pursue through this collaboration.


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