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PIA Press Release

Kidapawan City mayor to visit Yosemite National Park in US

by Psalmer Bernalte

Kidapawan City (5 September) -- City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco is invited to visit the United States in the middle of this month to undergo an orientation on Natural Park Management and Promotion to be given by the US Authorities in California.

US Department of the Interior - National Park Service that runs the Yosemite National Park in California has sent the invitation last month. It offers an opportunity of studying Yosemite's advance park conservation and management system.

The invitation was extended to him on the basis of Kidapawan LGU's efforts of conserving the Mt. Apo Natural Park, which like Yosemite's, is being run and managed by the local governments and inhabited by indigenous people. The US Department of Interior has also invited Makilala Mayor Onofre Respicio and Magpet Mayor Efren Piņol Sr. and Mt. Apo Foundation Incorporated Executive Director Atty. Emelo Libre.

Atty. Libre said that the invitation is an oppurtunity that the three LGU officials should not ignore. Mt. Apo is the primary watershed area of the entire province where conservation concerns is made serious.

The three mayors has formed an alliance in 2005 to work hand-in-hand in co- managing and running the more than 72,000 hectare Mt. Apo Natural Park in North Cotabato side. As a resault, a major cleanup drive was done in the park and tourism activity was reopened after 4 years of closure.

Yosemite's staff can help the three local chief executives by giving valuable information to help them in the protection of the Mt. Apo Natural Park. These will include: fund sourcing mechanism of the Yosemite National Park and its fund management; coordination and linkaging system between local governments around the park and Yosemite National Park; tourism approach in the Yosemite National Park; role and participation of the indigenous people in the over-all planning and development of the Park; and trainings available at Yosemite which are helpful to the Mt. Apo Natural Park development and possible partnership undertakings between Yosemite and Mt. Apo parks.

Yosemite (pronounced Yo-SEM-it-ee) lies along the Mariposa and Tuolomne Counties in the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California. Its about a three hour drive east of San Francisco and takes about six hours drive northeast of Los Angeles. It measures 761,266 acres (about 1.9 Million hectares) and attracts about 3.5 Million visitors a year.It is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. It has an elevation of between 600 - 4000 meters above sea level (2000 - 13,114 feet). 89% of the Park's total area is designated as ' wilderness'. It became a World Heritage Site in 1984.

Mayor Gantuangco looks forward to a meaningful exchange of ideas concerning the management of the Mt. Apo Natural Park through the systems implemented at Yosemite. (CIO-Kidapawan/PIA 12) [top]

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