|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||November 7, 2013|
|Contact:||Kate Fielder, Starview Strategies, firstname.lastname@example.org 435-640-6110|
Community Leaders, Public Land Managers Meet to Improve Dialogue, Intiate Collaborative Exchange
Gateway forum meeting brings stakeholders together to engage in problem solving and community building concerning Utah’s national parks and monuments
SALT LAKE CITY — More than 100 leaders from the communities neighboring Utah’s national parks and monuments and federal land managers from across the state are gathering at the Sundance Resort today to begin an innovative process that will provide these community leaders and lands officials with a unique opportunity to learn from each other as they all strive to nurture and strengthen their economies and quality of life.
This first of its kind meeting was organized by the National Park Conservation Association’s (NPCA) Southwest Regional office and is being hosted by a team of representatives from city and county governments, businesses, tourism and economic development professionals, public land managers and national park friends.
The morning began with a series of opening comments. Laura Joss, acting Intermountain Region director for the National Park Service, told the group, “The Intermountain Region of the National Park Service recognizes the importance of gateway communities and their integral links to parks. We are committed to a robust working relationship with them now and in the future.”
Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, read a letter from Gov. Gary Herbert, in which he noted “Utah's beauty―nowhere displayed better than at our national parks―draws visitors from all over the world and spurs a tourism industry that is indispensable to our state economy.”
The forum’s facilitator Margaret Wheatley, a nationally recognized author, speaker, and co-founder of the Berkana Institute, emphasized that the forum was structured to allow everyone to discover what is currently known, recognizing that many of the solutions and expertise gateway communities need are already present within the collective experience of the gathered group.
Today’s meeting is not a singular event. Attendees will establish working groups by interest in order to continue their collaboration. Supported by staff from NPCA, they hope to work together to continue to resolve challenges, solve difficult problems, and support one another as they further enhance their communities.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to share best practices and some of the concerns of being a gateway community. We all realize the importance of our national parks and monuments and the impacts that they have on our communities, this is a great opportunity for networking,” commented Moab’s mayor, Dave Sakrison.