February 29, 2016 4:30 a.m.
Crater Lake National Park and Wuyishan National Scenic Areain China are now sister parks.
Representatives from Oregon, the National Parks Service and China formally signed an agreement on Friday. Supporters say the agreement which was ten years in the making will help promote Crater Lake National Park to a fast-growing Chinese travel audience. It also encourages cultural and environmental study exchanges between the two parks, according to Carolyn Hill, Executive Director of Crater Lake National Park Trust and CEO of Travel Southern Oregon. Hill led a delegation to Fujian, China last week for the signing. Joining her were Crater Lake National Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman and Teresa O’Neill, Vice President of Global Sales for Travel Oregon.
Craig Ackerman said the strength of the long-standing friendship and spirit of cooperation between the people of the Fujian province and the state of Oregon helped lead to the agreement. Ackerman says that both sides will work together to share their knowledge, skills and expertise to protect, preserve and make available for their peoples, these places “whose magnificent scenery, diverse resources, and rich history transcend international borders”.
Hill, a member of the Joint Legislative Committee for the Oregon-Fujian Sister State, has been a regional and state leader in developing the Chinese visitor market. Through her involvement with the Crater Lake National Park Trust and Travel Southern Oregon, Hill worked closely with Superintendent Craig Ackerman and officials with the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior to develop the sister-park agreement.
Crater Lake National Park welcomed over 614,000 visitors in 2015, its highest count since the first tracking of numbers in 1904. In comparison, Wuyishan National Park averages over 10.5 million visitors a year. China is now Oregon’s number one overseas travel market.