The United States and Mongolia are home to many unique species of wildlife. Cooperation in protecting these precious natural resources is one many outcomes of the good relationship between the United States and Mongolia.
That cooperation increased this month with the signing of a “sister parks” agreement between the United States National Park Service’s Yosemite National Park and the Mongolian Ministry of Environment, Green Development, and Tourism, or MEGDT.
U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia Piper Campbell and Ch. Ochirkhuyag, Vice Governor of Hovsgol Aimag, or province, spoke at the July 18 signing ceremony in the foothills of Mongolia’s picturesque Horidal-Saridag mountains. They described the creation of the sister park relationship as an opportunity for U.S.-Mongolian collaboration in natural resource management, healthy habitat creation, biodiversity, and environmental education.
At the ceremony, Tom Medema, Chief of Interpretation and Education at Yosemite National Park, signed the agreement on behalf of the United States. Director J. Tumursukh, of the Ulaan Taiga Administration, and Director L. Davaabayar, of Lake Hovsgol National Park, signed the agreement for Mongolia.
This newest of Yosemite’s agreements involves four Mongolian wilderness areas: Lake Hovsgol National Park and Ulaan Taiga National park as well as the adjoining Tengis Shishged and Horidol Saridag “protected areas.” Yosemite also maintains sister parks relations with the governments of Chile, China, and Germany.
MEGDT’s Department of Protected Areas Management was founded in 2012. Its mission includes the preservation of Mongolian national and cultural heritage through conservation of its parks and protected lands. The Mongol Ecology Center, a Mongolia-based NGO, has worked with this department since 2011 and played a key role in facilitating the relationship between U.S. and Mongolian officials.
Yosemite National Park, was established in 1890 and celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. The Mongolian government established Lake Hovsgol National Park in 1992. Lake Hovsgol contains 70 percent of Mongolia’s surface freshwater (about 1% of global total freshwater). In 2014, there were approximately 80,000 visitors. During this year’s summertime Naadam festival, however, there were more than 40,000 visitors over five days.
The United States is proud to work with its partner Mongolia to help preserve the biodiversity that connects all peoples and all life on earth.