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Shifting Leadership to the Local and Regional Level: Changes in federal land protection priorities and U.S. demographics have prompted a growing realization within the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and other federal land managing agencies that they need to be more creative in partnering with local communities, including those with underserved populations, to engage them more fully in the protection and stewardship of cultural landscapes, river corridors, and recreational trails and greenways. This increased recognition of the need for partnership, especially in the protection of linear corridors, is underscored by the introduction of “Treasured Landscapes” (DOI, 2010) a new federal land conservation initiative by the U.S. Department of the Interior—which has as two of its major components “strengthening connectivity between protected lands” and “identifying where NPS can best play the role of partner, assisting and advancing local conservation goals.” The outlook is on greater emphasis and financial support for the federal partnership role in local and regional efforts to advance development of recreational greenways, cultural landscapes and ecological corridors.

how NPS has succeeded in reshaping the use of three different federal designations for linear resources (National Heritage Corridor, National Scenic Trail, and Wild and Scenic River) to achieve more effective conservation partnerships with states, communities and nongovernmental organizations. Each of these national designations—originally conceived with the federal agency playing a leadership role—has evolved to shift leadership to the local and regional level. The significant results of this change have been greater public engagement in the development, management and ownership of local and regional greenways, along with no increase in federal land ownership.



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