The Gardiner Montana Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the community of Gardiner, Montana, is under final review to become an extension of Yellowstone National Park’s UNESCO biosphere reserve designation.
What is a biosphere reserve, and what does this mean for the Gardiner community? Simply put, a biosphere reserve is an internationally recognized area that has been set aside to manage interactions between human society and the natural ecosystem. It identifies a region as a place that values sustainable practices such as conservation education and sustainable business practices. Today, there are over 650 biosphere reserves in 120 countries around the world.
The designation honors the Gardiner community as a place that promotes biodiversity and embraces living alongside the natural environment. Although the designation is primarily honorary, it serves as an active reminder for the community’s residents to strive to protect the natural environment that makes their community so unique.
Yellowstone National Park received its biosphere designation in 1976—becoming one of the first reserves in the United States. Today, gateway communities like Gardiner play a vital role in meeting the goals of the biosphere reserve, from providing sustainable visitor services to recreation opportunities.
“The designation is nationally known and recognized,” says Gardiner Chamber of Commerce President Schalene Darr. “Gardiner should feel proud to be part of the designation and aspire to be stewards of our beautiful environment.”
The biosphere area in Yellowstone National Park is currently expanding to include Grand Teton National Park, the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, the National Elk Refuge, and the gateway communities of Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana. Areas with this distinction enjoy benefits such as networking with other biosphere areas and a boost in credibility with sustainable travelers from around the world.
The designation was arose from a collaborative agreement between the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Gardiner Community Council, the Bear Creek Council, and Park County. The Designation is currently under review with the International Coordinating Council and is expected to be finalized in 2018.
To learn more about the designation and other biosphere reserve communities, visit the UNESCO website at http://en.unesco.org/.
Photos courtesy of Jean Modesette.