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Protected area management training in the USA

As part of the grant contract for the “Unknown Krka – hidden treasures of the upper and middle course of the Krka River” (KK 06.1.2.01.0003) received as part of the Call for applications for Promoting sustainable of natural heritage in national parks,

Operation Programme for Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014 – 2020, the Public Institute of Krka National Park has begun implementing the project “Protected area management training in the USA”.

Six employees of the Public Institute of Krka National Park have successfully completed a training programme on protected area management and the development of sustainable tourism as part of a certified programme at the Center for Protected Area Management at Colorado State University (USA), as part of the “Unknown Krka” project, which was co-financed by the European Union from the European Fund for Regional Development.

After the 12-day training programme, all participants received a certificate of attendance. In addition to hearing lectures by experts, participants also visited national parks and other protected areas in Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota, where participants of the programme were able to exchange their experiences with others.

The intensive mobile seminar on tourism planning and management in protected areas, in English, was held for staff who participate in planning, management, protection, tourism and recreation outdoors. Discussions were held on how tourism in protected areas can help to build public support for conservation, contribute to public health and management of protected areas, while also generating economic benefits for the local communities and national economy.

The seminar began on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, just a one-hour drive from Denver, the capital of Colorado, in the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Most of the seminar was held in the field, in protected areas offering a wide range of tourism programmes. These parks and reserves encompass a large number of habitats and cultural resources, and are managed by federal, state and local authorities, non-governmental organisations, and private landowners.

Our employees were particularly impressed by their educational visits to the volunteer centre Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado in Denver, to three national parks - Rocky Mountain, Wind Cave and Badlands, to two national monuments - Jewel Cave and Mount Rushmore, to the state park Custer State Park and several national forests, monuments and wild animal shelters. They also paid visits to ranches (agritourism) and different local and regional tourist attractions. Visits to these protected areas, the different management categories and the type and level of tourism activities, enabled our employees to learn about a multitude of approaches in tourism planning and management in protected areas and the neighbouring communities.

Colleagues from other Croatian protected areas also participated alongside our employees in this seminar: Public Institute of Mljet National Park, Public Institute of Telašćica Nature Park, and Public Institute Priroda of Šibenik-Knin County.