Monday, October 26, 2009

Knowledge transfer... in the XXI-st Century takes how long?

An Initiative
to Establish the “European Park Service” (EPS)
and to
place the full weight of EU institutions and legislation
behind attempting to harness all the potential benefits
of a stronger European Policy in protecting natural parks and protected historic sites

In the US, President Woodrow Wilson has established the National Park Service in 1916. It came as a natural continuation of pioneer work by President Theodore Roosevelt having set aside over 150 million acres of public land for conservation purposes.

Today, National Parks in the US are not solely Yellowstone WY and Grand Canyon AZ--the two most well known by people worldwide--but almost 400 different parks receiving a total of about 275 million visitors/year (

The range of types of parks is amazing. They are natural and historic. They protect, preserve, conserve and educate. From a small steel "mill" of late 1700s at Hopewell Furnace to history rich Valley Forge (both 60 km W of Philadelphia), from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Gettysburg in PA or San Antonio Missions in TX, or from Big Bend, Padre Island or Palo Alto Battlefield in TX to Cape Cod in Massachusetts or Mount Denali in Alaska.

When you visit any park you get a familiar feel, friendly rangers welcome you smiling with useful info, you can watch nice documentaries, or take part in very informative activities for children or adults, to say nothing about the well crafted educational Junior Ranger programs, my daughter's favorite.

The NPS has a budget of $2.92 billion with 20,579 employees for FY 2009. An 85 $ annual pass gives you free access to all Parks where an entrance fee is collected.

Could we try to replicate this in Europe (all its 27 EU members, or all 40+ countries)?

In Europe, countries have established and keep adding on their own National Parks. A few resources integrate information about all the parks, among which a great one is the Europarc Federation, at:, or another great resource at: The EU has a number of funding opportunities for preservation and conservation efforts by national/local authorities or NGOs (LIFE+, projects budget for 2009: 249.9 million Euro; Natura 2000 Network).

Yet, there is no integrated body at European level to provide a common ground, strategic vision, enforcement when needed, and sharing of best practices, as well as a common feel to visitors and why not an effective marketing campaign to beneficiaries, children and their families.

Would an integrated effort make sense?

Can it lead to avoiding things like this:

while organizations like the Int'l Committee for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) claim 15 years of success stories:

If so, how can it be achieved best? What would it take to bring such small initiative to the ears of European powerful and influential policy makers? Which doors do we need to knock at?


NOTE: Modestly asked by Dr. Adrian S. Petrescu, father of Mica, a ten years old Romanian-American child having visited and benefited from some forty (out of 391 total) US National (Natural and/or Historic) Parks. As she herself puts it, “I have another 350 to get a Junior Ranger badge from”… Dedicated in deep respectful memory of five men of leadership, US Presidents Abraham Lincoln (IL), Theodore Roosevelt (NY), Dr. Woodrow Wilson (NJ), and Lyndon B. Johnson (TX), and Everett Townsend, a Texan frontier-man and pioneer like few other. It comes in pious remembrance of their contributions to understanding impact on policies by/for children (Lincoln), and to the establishment of US/State (and global) National Parks (Roosevelt, Wilson), or for their love for (Johnson), and relentless initiative to “father” (Townsend) the (TX) Big Bend National Park, respectively.

No comments:

Post a Comment