My main reason for traveling to and staying on the east side of Glacier NP was to take a day drive into Canada and see Waterton Lakes NP. I understand that not everyone will share my views in this realm, but isn’t that what makes life interesting? I personally have always been disturbed by the way we furiously protect our “borders”. As human beings I would much prefer a world where we could all peacefully co-exist (I have been called a Pollyanna by a number of friends). But back to the subject of Parks……
Park visitors notice the international border when traveling between the United States and Canada (or any other country for that matter), but the plants and animals living in the two parks do not.
They cross freely at the border, where the ecosystem is largely unaffected by political boundaries ignoring the
“cleared swath of vegetation” marking the US/Canadian border.
The need for global cooperation in environmental management is clear.
Nowhere is the need for transnational forms of management more apparent than in the realm of the environment.
Natural resources—such as marine life, wildlife, the atmosphere, and the ozone layer—are not bounded by national (political) borders, and thus, effective conservation requires international cooperation.
The growing interest in peace parks reflects this need. The very first International Peace Park resulted from the cooperation between the United States and Canada in protecting and caring for Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks.
Briefly defined, peace parks are conservation areas that cross one or more international borders and use cooperation and common management practices to conserve a single ecosystem.
Apart from the benefits for biodiversity conservation, these peace parks can also play an important role in fostering better co-operation and understanding between countries. It has long been recognized that these types of areas have symbolic value for peaceful cooperation between nations as well as practical benefit for coordinated joint conservation management. Indeed they may help catalyze the peaceful resolution of disputes. In many parts of the world, these co-protected areas have been important in building bridges between nations and peoples.
My hope is that this great idea will grow and multiply in the future helping to someday foster that global peaceful co-existence. For today, it was heartwarming to visit Waterton Lakes and hear and see the positive results of these efforts.