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United States and Ireland Sign Sister Park Agreement

The arrangement pairs Killarney National Park in County Kerry and Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. 

An agreement was signed in a virtual ceremony that establishes Glacier National Park in Montana, USA, and Killarney National Park in County Kerry, Ireland, as “sister parks”. The arrangement furthers international cooperation between the two countries and facilitates collaboration related to the management these cherished, protected places.

Killarney National Park, managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of Ireland’s Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and Glacier National Park, managed by the U.S. National Park Service, have common issues including heavy visitation, controlling exotic and invasive species, outreach with local communities, ecological monitoring, and partnership agreements. The parks will share best practices through the exchange of technical and professional knowledge, data, technology, training, and possible site visits.

“I am delighted that my Department – through the National Parks and Wildlife Service – is entering into a Sister Parks arrangement with U.S. National Park Service by developing best practices and establishing closer links between Killarney National Park and Glacier National Park, Montana. In doing so we will enrich the experience and capacity of the personnel of both Parks through exchanges of staff and best practices,” said Ireland’s Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien.

“The collaborative nature of this partnership provides an excellent opportunity to exchange lessons learned related to recreation, preservation and resource management,” said Shawn Benge, Deputy Director of the National Park Service, exercising the authority of the Director. “We are excited about the possibilities to work together and learn from each other.”

“From today, both Killarney National Park and Glacier National Park will aim to capitalise on the significant networking knowledge and sharing opportunities this agreement supports. Given the natural and cultural resources protected and presented by both organisations, as well as our respective mandates, it is my hope that we use our arrangement as a joint and thus stronger voice to highlight the challenges not only in these two parks but across our nations,” said Ireland’s Minister of State for Heritage at the Department Malcolm Noonan.

“As the world’s first international peace park with Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, Glacier National Park has a proud history of working with partners beyond our borders to exchange best practices and to learn from one another,” said Jeff Mow, Glacier National Park Superintendent. “We look forward to adding to our history and collaborating with Killarney National Park.”

The agreement lasts for five years and may be extended or modified by the participants. The new sister park relationship joins more than three dozen that exist between U.S. national parks and national parks and protected areas in other countries.