Four years ago, seven North American government agencies signed the first ever international agreement dedicated to Wilderness. This agreement provides a voluntary framework for cooperation on Wilderness conservation between Mexico, Canada and the United States. The agreement has since been expanded to include working together on issues related to other protected areas throughout the continent that are managed by these agencies.
I have the distinct pleasure of being this year’s Chair of the North American Intergovernmental Committee on Cooperation for Wilderness and Protected Areas Conservation (NAWPA). This committee is comprised of myself representing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and my colleagues from the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) of the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Parks Canada Agency of the Government of Canada,
and the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and Office of Environmental Markets of the United States.
Wilderness and other protected areas across North America play an important role in the survival of wildlife and plant species by providing habitat and connectivity. These areas also serve many ecosystem functions that benefit people, such as maintaining water and air quality.
NAWPA is committed to working across boundaries to address common ecological, economic, and social challenges. One way we do this is through sharing best management practices and research, mentoring, and working together to help the public understand how the health of wilderness and other protected areas affect their daily lives. Together, we have the opportunity to truly make a difference as we move forward in managing special areas throughout North America. I look forward to continuing to work as a member of NAWPA.
Thank you for your commitment and passion for safeguarding the natural resources of our wilderness and other protected areas and their capacity to help sustain our
Daniel M. Ashe
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Chair, NAWPA Commitee