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Aug 16, 2012

U.S. National Parks experts meet with locals

James Bacon

Belize is internationally recognized for its conservation initiatives and vast protected areas. Today, a half day seminar organized by the United States Embassy, was held at the Radisson to discuss best practices when it comes to managing national parks. Leading the seminar was James Bacon, an outdoor recreation planner from the U.S. National Parks Service. Bacon says that apart from a few infrastructural upgrades, Belize is on the right path in conservation.

 

James Bacon, Planner, U.S. National Park Service

“I came down on behalf of the US Embassy and State Department from the National Park Service to talk about how we promote visitor use of our national parks and manage that use of the parks and have an exchange here with the folks here and learn from each other about how you in Belize work with your protected areas and promoted tourism in your protected areas?”

 

Monica Bodden, Channel 7

“What’s the purpose? What’s the objective?”

 

James Bacon

“The objective is just to exchange information and learn from each other, share our best practices and some of the things that we need to improve on in the United States and vice versa, you know hear what you’re up to and take some of those messages and best practices with me back to the United States.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“Were there any things highlighted that we may need to work on, on our end?”

 

James Bacon

“Well, I think there’s a lot of good things that you’re already doing; great culture, great communities. I told a story to the folks here that I had a colleague that came down to Belize this year—tourism, their own visit—they had a tour guide that sent the entire day with them visiting a cave. They had a great time, they remember this person individually and it was the highlight of their trip. So your guide services, your community, your culture; your doing a great job with that. It sounds like you got some infrastructure improvements and things to accommodate visitors and promote tourism that can take place here, but otherwise you’re doing a great job to just connect people more with the places.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“So in your view, how was the seminar over all?”

 

James Bacon

“Well, it was great; well attended, we had good group, a good mix of people from NGO’s and your public sector, they asked a lot of questions, had good dialogue back and forth and I think it was very good.”

 

Monica Bodden

“You guys plan to do a follow up session?”

 

James Bacon

“Just one session today and then we’re heading out to see some parks and visit with people more individually and in the field from here.”

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