Zion forms relationship with nat'l park in China

AP News
Posted: Dec 14, 2009 8:05 PM

Zion National Park is establishing a sister relationship with a national park in China.

Zion Superintendent Jock Whitworth said the agreement with Danxiashan National Park will involve sharing ideas, staff and research to better understand both parks.

"The real value is in the exchange of culture," he said.

The new relationship was celebrated Sunday as the deal was finalized for Zion's first sister park in China.

Danxiashan's director, Yu Changyong, said his park contacted Zion in March about a possible relationship because the two locations share a similar formation of red rocks.

"Among all the red rock in America, Zion is the most diverse," he said through a translator. "We would like to work together for conservation and research of the red rock."

Adrienne Fitzgerald, a ranger at Zion, said the two parks are geomorphically very similar. The big difference is that the climate near China's south coast, where Danxiashan is located, is much wetter.

After several months of talks, Whitworth and others visited Danxiashan in the spring.

Officials from both parks gathered again Sunday around a scale map of Zion and were already swapping information. Whitworth and Fitzgerald discussed the benefits of controlled burns as a way to reduce the risk of uncontrolled wildfires.

"They haven't gotten used to the use of fire yet," Whitworth said. "It's reintroducing fire to a landscape."

He said he's hoping the sister relationship will have benefits for all.

"It's a goal of China to develop these relationships," he said. "We hope people from China will come to Zion to learn and enjoy."


Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com