Sister Park Arrangement between Spioenkop Nature Reserve (SA) and Lake Roosevelt National Recreational Area (USA)
Caption: Ian Rushworth (Scientific Services, Ezemvelo), Eric Mlaba (Officer-in-Charge Spioenkop, Ezemvelo) and Dan Foster (Superintendent Lake Roosevelt, National Park Service) at the signing ceremony
The US National Park Service (NPS) approached Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo) in 2016 regarding the establishment of the Sister Park arrangement between a KZN protected area and Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (Lake Roosevelt) in the Washington State of the USA. This was discussed with the CEO and the Executive and it was decided that there would be a significant benefit to KZN and Ezemvelo in establishing such an arrangement, and it was further decided that Spioenkop Nature Reserve (Spioenkop) would be the best park because of similar issues experienced by both parks.
Thanks to generous sponsorship from the USA Mr. Ian Rushworth (Scientific Services) and Mr. Eric Mlaba (Officer-in-Charge Spioenkop) went to Lake Roosevelt in October 2017 to make this arrangement a reality and the non-binding Sister Park arrangement was signed between Ezemvelo and the NPS. The Sister Park arrangement outlines the areas of cooperation between the two parks. Key areas where Spioenkop and Ezemvelo stand to benefit are around tourism management, visitor interpretation and lessons regarding concessions and other private sector investment in parks, ultimately improving tourism product, management effectiveness and staff capacity. This will be achieved primarily through work experience exchange programs. From time to time staff would travel to each other’s countries as part of this arrangement to learn about each other’s Park activities and management approaches. The arrangement does not only assist Spioenkop but the whole of Ezemvelo would benefit in getting information and applying lessons on the way things are done by Lake Roosevelt and the National Park Service.
Both Park managers agreed that they should drive this arrangement forward by developing an action plan where all potential activities can be laid out and done according to a priority list. Spioenkop is proud to have a Sister Park and to be part of the broader Sister Parks programme.
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