At the invitation of the United States government, the Director of the
World Heritage Centre and a representative of the International Union for
the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are headed to Yellowstone later this
month to get a first-hand look at how the National Park Service is
addressing challenges facing the world’s first national park which was
designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. UNESCO is the United
Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

A variety of threats to the park prompted the World Heritage Committee to
place Yellowstone on its List of World Heritage in Danger in 1995. The park
was subsequently removed from the list in 2003. Since then, the United
States has continued to report on the conditions of the park to the World
Heritage Committee.

During this visit to Yellowstone, part a routine monitoring effort, the
World Heritage Centre and IUCN representatives will tour Yellowstone and
meet with staff members to learn more about management of the park and
actions being taken to address issues facing it.

As part of their visit, the park will host a public listening session with
the World Heritage delegation in West Yellowstone on Wednesday evening,
Sept. 21. The meeting will take place from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the
Holiday Inn West Yellowstone Conference Hotel. The World Heritage
representatives are hoping to attract individuals representing a wide array
of divergent interests and viewpoints to attend and briefly share their
thoughts and concerns.

Subsequent to their visit, the representatives will issue a
report on their findings, which will be reviewed by the World Heritage
Committee at its next regular session in 2012. The Committee is the
governing body of the World Heritage Convention, an international agreement
to identify and promote the protection of the world’s most significant
cultural and natural treasures. The World Heritage Centre is the
secretariat for the Convention.

In 1973, the United States was the first country to sign the World Heritage
Convention. To date, 187 nations are signatories. Countries voluntarily
nominate their sites for inclusion on the World Heritage List. Member
nations retain complete sovereignty over all property and over the
operation of sites added to the World Heritage List. There are 21 sites in
the U.S., including 17 units of the national park system that have received
World Heritage designation.

The park’s most recent report to the World Heritage Committee can be found at nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/wh_09.pdf.

More about World Heritage in the U.S. is available at
nps.gov/oia/topics/worldheritage/worldheritage.htm and whc.unesco.org/.