Two rangers shaking hands with border marker in the background.

Hands Across Borders

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Catalyzing Sustaining Transboundary Conservation Initiatives

September 2016

In 1932, the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament designated Glacier National Park and its neighbor Waterton Lakes National Park as the first international peace park in the world. Since then, it has served as a symbol and catalyst for transboundary conservation initiatives across the globe. More than ever, border regions are coming together to promote and support livable communities, vibrant economies, and healthy landscapes.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the US National Park Service, Hands Across Borders, a unique event to celebrate and advance transboundary conservation and international peace parks convened September 13-16, 2016. The week-long event included a three-day workshop with transboundary conservation professionals from around the world. The week-long event culminated in the Peace Park Assembly’s annual Hands Across the Border ceremony in the shadow of iconic Chief Mountain.

This work promotes peace and cooperation, while also highlighting the past, current, and future roles of Indigenous Peoples as the original stewards of these critical environments. This unique event builds on the recently published book by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), “Transboundary Conservation: A Systematic and Integrated Approach (2015),” and is designed to achieve the following expectations and outcomes.

The Glacier Conservancy was a major sponsor and fiscal agent for this special event.

See all of the photos and videos from this event here:


Montana Public Radio, September 15, Waterton-Glacier Workshop Draws Land and Wildlife Managers from 70 Countries

KPAX TV, September 16, Bison recovery used as example of cross-border conservation

Flathead Beacon, August 31 – Preserving the Peace

The Missoulian, September 17 – Border crossings: Conservationists from around the globe gather in Glacier

Calgary Herald, September 18 – International peace parks touted for transboundary conservation

Great Falls Tribune, September 21 – Peace Park assembly brings Rotarians together