China's Stone Forest and the US' Mammoth Cave were recognized as sister parks in a signing ceremony held in the Visitor Center of the Stone Forest in Yunnan province August 13, 2009.
The Stone Forest is one of three major karst landscapes in south China, along with Libo in Guizhou and Chongqing's Wulong, which were named World Natural Heritage Sites by UNESCO on June 27, 2007. Mammoth Cave, a national park in the US state of Kentucky, was ranked in the World Heritage Site list on October 27, 1981.
Establishing the sister park relationship between Stone Forest and Mammoth Cave is of great significance, according to a news release. The cooperation sets a good example of the protection and management of World Natural Heritage as well as the rational development and utilization of natural resources.
There will be further exchange and cooperation in the fields of tourism, economy, scientific research, etc.
An environmental remediation project as well as a facelift and expansion of the Stone Forest scenic spot were completed at the end of March.
The park has also made efforts to integrate tourism resources and expand brand awareness to open up more tourist markets at home and abroad. The measures have paid off—as of August 10, 2009, the total number of visitors reached 1.671 million, a 34 percent increase of the same period of last year.
(China Daily August 24, 2009)