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COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT IN NATIONAL PARKS

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SUMMARY The last decade has brought many innovations to cooperative park management approaches used by park agencies and aboriginal peoples. This paper briefly reports on cooperative management efforts in six northern Canadian national parks, Wapusk, Nahanni, Tuktuk Nogait, Kluane, Vuntut and Auyuittuq, and two US national parks, Grand Canyon and Badlands. Interviews with park staff, aboriginal representatives and consultants involved with cooperative management processes serve as the source for this information. The paper is based on a series of factual and experiential questions which address: 1) park establishment; 2) history, identity and aboriginal influences on park culture and management; 3) cooperative management; 4) park and aboriginal relations, past and present; and 5) the role of consultants and other "outside" facilitators of cooperative management. The types of arrangements for cooperative management that exist in each park are examined through the prism of the participants' actual experiences in the field. The paper briefly highlights different aspects of cooperative management and critical elements for its success. The subject areas include: 1) defining roles and responsibilities in cooperative management; 2) fostering communication between park agencies and aboriginal communities; 3) mechanisms for collaborative decision making; 4) establishment and maintenance of effective cooperative management boards; and, 5) co-development and implementation of projects such as documentation and interpretation of aboriginal culture, ecosystem management and ecological integrity planning. A larger report arising from this project will provide practitioners and researchers interested in cooperative management with detailed case studies of cooperative management in each of the eight parks studied for this project. The report will be available by the end of 2003. 1. COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT
COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT IN NATIONAL PARKS
Elizabeth Halpenny
1
, Margaret E. Bowman
2
, Donald Aubrey
3
and Paul F.J. Eagles
1
1
Department of Leisure and Recreation, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. W.,
Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1. E-mail:
ehalpenny@sympatico.ca, eagles@uwaterloo.ca
2
Ontario Parks - Central Zone, 451 Arrowhead Park Road, RR3, Huntsville, ON,
P1H 2J4. E-mail:
mebowman@sympatico.ca
3
Parks Canada
SUMMARY
The last decade has brought many innovations to cooperative park management approaches used
by park agencies and aboriginal peoples. This paper briefly reports on cooperative management
efforts in six northern Canadian national parks, Wapusk, Nahanni, Tuktuk Nogait, Kluane,
Vuntut and Auyuittuq, and two US national parks, Grand Canyon and Badlands. Interviews with
park staff, aboriginal representatives and consultants involved with cooperative management
processes serve as the source for this information. The paper is based on a series of factual and
experiential questions which address: 1) park establishment; 2) history, identity and aboriginal
influences on park culture and management; 3) cooperative management; 4) park and aboriginal
relations, past and present; and 5) the role of consultants and other “outside” facilitators of
cooperative management. The types of arrangements for cooperative management that exist in
each park are examined through the prism of the participants’ actual experiences in the field. The
paper briefly highlights different aspects of cooperative management and critical elements for its
success. The subject areas include: 1) defining roles and responsibilities in cooperative
management; 2) fostering communication between park agencies and aboriginal communities; 3)
mechanisms for collaborative decision making; 4) establishment and maintenance of effective
cooperative management boards; and, 5) co-development and implementation of projects such as
documentation and interpretation of aboriginal culture, ecosystem management and ecological
integrity planning. A larger report arising from this project will provide practitioners and
researchers interested in cooperative management with detailed case studies of cooperative
management in each of the eight parks studied for this project. The report will be available by the
end of 2003.
1. COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT
During the past decade considerable discussion has focused on the idea of shared planning and
management of protected areas. Many believe that collaboration between indigenous peoples,
local communities and park agencies in the establishment and management of parks can result in
greater success in achieving biodiversity and cultural heritage conservation goals (1). However,
more theory than action has resulted from this discussion. Early pioneering efforts such as
CAMPFIRE in Zimbabwe, the co-management of national parks in Australia and conservation
strategies in Nepal have met with uneven success, and sometimes outright failure (2, 3).
Several recent papers explore the factors that appear to affect practitioners’ ability to achieve
successful forms of collaborative and cooperative management. These include: Fisher’s case
study review of South-east Asian collaborative management arrangements (3); McNeely’s more
theoretical overview of global trends in collaborative management (1); Igoe’s review of
aboriginal involvement in collaborative management (2); and Wall, Hallman and Skibicki’s
examination of shared and cooperative management of national parks in Australia, New Zealand
and the US (4). Within Canada, four studies provide an excellent base to launch further
investigation. These include Danby and Slocombe’s case study on the Alaska-Yukon St. Elias
1
region, and Gardner’s (2001), Weitzner’s (2000) and Budke’s (1999) reviews of collaborative and
cooperative management in Western Canadian parks (5, 6, 7, 8). While these studies provide
some good background for understanding cooperative management, further investigation of the
factors necessary to achieve effective and efficient cooperative management of protected areas is
needed.
2. PURPOSE AND METHODS
"Cooperative management" is a key issue in the evolving relationship between First Nations and
governments at all levels. Although there is not yet a generally accepted understanding of the
term, the concept of cooperative management is particularly important for national parks and
other protected places. Many parks and park agencies are attempting to implement cooperative
management more effectively. Within Canada cooperative management is a key aspect of the
management of national parks in areas where aboriginal land claims have been settled. Many
such parks are situated north of the sixtieth parallel in Nunavut, the Northwest Territory and the
Yukon Territory where the majority of parks in the study in question are situated. Parks Canada,
the principal federal government agency charged with the management of national parks in
Canada, has had a long-standing policy to work with a broad range of federal, provincial,
territorial and municipal government agencies as well as Aboriginal interests to achieve mutually
compatible goals.
The purpose of this study was three fold: 1) to assist Wood Buffalo National Park learn from
the experiences of other national parks in developing suitable cooperative management
arrangements tailored to meet its own needs; 2) to systematically document the factual and
behavioural aspects of cooperative management that exists at these parks so that the results may
be shared by others; and, 3) to present this information on the experience of cooperative
management at these parks so that it is of practical value to participants in cooperative
management at these parks and elsewhere. These objectives were achieved first through a review
of academic and professional literature on the topics of collaborative and cooperative
management and a detailed study of case study park documents and second through interviews
with participants in cooperative management at the national parks in the sample. A total of eight
parks were selected for the study, six in northern Canada and two in the United States (US). The
northern Canadian national parks were made up of a sample from each jurisdiction north of the
sixtieth parallel with the addition of a park from northern Manitoba, national parks which in
geographic, cultural and political terms were comparable to Wood Buffalo National Park. The
two US parks were selected to provide additional information on aboriginal collaboration in areas
related to park management having already been examined in a previous comparative cooperative
management study in 1995. The case study approach allowed for more in-depth knowledge to be
captured than might otherwise be the case in a more broadly based survey. It also enabled the
unique character of each park to be captured through oral interviews. The national parks included
in the study are detailed in Figure 1; in Canada a National Park Reserve is an area or a portion of
an area proposed for a national park, subject to an aboriginal land claim, which has been accepted
for negotiation by the Government of Canada.
2
Figure 1: Park, location and date of establishment
AUYUITTUQ 1976 reserve status
2001 national park status
KLUANE 1942, 1972 reserve status
1995 national park status
NAHANNI 1972 (reserve status only)
TUKTUT NOGAIT 1998 national park status
VUNTUT 1995 national park status
CANADA
WAPUSK
1996 national park status
BADLANDS 1939 national monument status
1978 national park status
US
GRAND CANYON
1893 forest reserve status
1908 national monument
1919 national park status
Semi-structured interviews were conducted by telephone with a number of stakeholders from
each park region. The interviews featured several avenues of questions including: 1) park
establishment, 2) aboriginal history and culture, 3) cooperative management, 4) park and
aboriginal relations past and present, and 5) the role of consultants and other “outside” process
facilitators. Participants interviewed during the study included park staff (superintendents,
wardens, cultural resource officers), and aboriginal representatives who currently or in the past
have represented aboriginal interests on park management boards or in joint park-community
projects. The latter generally had formal training in cultural or resource management, or had
extensive traditional knowledge associated with the region. A selection of aboriginal participants
was identified with the help of park staff. A small number of consultants who had worked for the
aboriginal communities or Parks Canada at the sites were also interviewed, as was the national
coordinator for Indian Relations for the US National Park Service (NPS). When needed, a
professional interpreter was used to facilitate communication.
3. FINDINGS
Analysis of the study’s results is at an early stage, however some preliminary observations are
outlined below. Further information on the study, including copies of the final paper, will be
available by the end of 2003 (contact Wood Buffalo National Park).
In general, the six parks in Canada exhibited a wide range of cooperative activities, joint
projects and shared agendas. This can be attributed to the legacy of land claim agreements that
have, in several of the parks, formed a cooperative foundation upon which formal and informal
relations have developed between the managing government agency (Parks Canada) and the
aboriginal people in the area where the park is located.
3
Findings from the study were condensed into three categories: 1) tools and approaches
used to achieve successful cooperative management, 2) ongoing challenges associated with
cooperative management, and 3) critical elements which appear to foster successful cooperative
management. Some of the key tools and approaches that were identified by both Parks Canada
staff and aboriginal communities included:
1. the establishment of cooperative management boards tailored to the needs of each
park/region in which they were employed;
2. identification of common goals early in the process and on an ongoing basis, with
incremental actions focused on those areas of the parks where both parties would like to
see their joint management/planning efforts applied;
3. consistent formal and informal communication;
4. identification of clear roles and responsibilities for park staff and aboriginal
community members early on in the cooperative management process;
5. transparency, as regards an open budgetary process; consistency and follow through
(“do what you said you would do”) as regards commitment; and accessibility in terms
of easy and open access to decision makers; and,
6. training programs (for both aboriginal community members and park staff from
outside the local community) to help staff and participants succeed at what they are
doing collaboratively.
Three central conclusions were drawn from this project, including:
1. successful cooperative management does not happen automatically; it requires
personal commitment which goes beyond the confines of the job;
2. ethical and human factors are just as, if not more, important as money for successful
cooperative management;
3. continuing research is important in helping government and communities better
understand how they are doing in cooperatively managing protected areas and how they
can do better.
4. SUMMATION
The above findings will help the development of cooperative management strategies at Wood
Buffalo National Park. They will also help get a deeper understanding of cooperative
management in northern Canada and in those parks where there is a close working relationship
with aboriginal people. Wood Buffalo National Park shares more in common with its northern
neighbours; however, it is also characterized by multiple aboriginal communities and a long
history of establishment and, as a result, lessons from the two US parks selected in the study may
also be of relevance. Regardless of the direct and indirect application of the research, the data
collected through the study represents an important addition to the cooperative management field,
especially due to its case study, practice oriented approach.
REFERENCES
1. J.A. McNeely. 2001. Roles for Civil Society in Protected Area Management: A Global Perspective on Current
Trends in Collaborative Management, Biological Diversity: Balancing Interests Through Adaptive Collaborative
Management (pp. 27-49).
2. J. Igoe. in press. Comparisons: National Parks and Indigenous Communities in Other Parts of the World.
Conservation and Globalization. City/publisher unknown.
3. R.J. Fisher. 2001. Experiences, Challenges, and Propects for Collaborative Management of Protected Areas: An
International Perspective., Biological Diveristy: Balancing Interests Through Adaptive Collaborative
Management (pp. 81-96).
4
4. G. Wall, S. Hallman and A. Skibicki. 1995. Shared and Cooperative Management Models of National Parks and
National Historic Sites Between Governments and Aboriginal Peoples: An International Review. Waterloo:
Strategic Research and Analysis, Department of Canadian Heritage.
5. R.K. Danby and D.S. Slocombe. 2002. Protected areas and intergovernmental cooperation in the St. Elias region.
Natural Resources Journal, 42, 247-282.
6. J. Gardner. 2001. First Nations Cooperative Management of Protected Areas in British Columbia: Tools and
Foundation. Vancouver: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and Ecotrust Canada.
7. V. Weitzner. 2000. Taking the Pulse of Collaborative Management in Canada's National Parks and National
Park Reserves: Voices from the Field. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, Natural Resources Institute.
8. I. Budke. 1999. A Review of Cooperative Management Arrangements and Economic Opportunities for
Aboriginal People in Canadian National Parks. Vancouver, British Columbia: Parks Canada, Western Canada
Service Centre.
5
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