Many visitors only see some things that happen behind the scenes at their favorite parks. Martin Lowenstein, the executive director of Friends of China Camp, explains that managing a park requires specialized skills, immense organization, and a commitment to the local community. Lowenstein recently discussed five keys to successfully managing a park.
Table of Contents
Find What Sets the Park Apart
Lowenstein expressed the importance of identifying what makes the park unique, including its overall location and features within the park. Understanding what draws visitors to the park helps managers promote the park and work to preserve those features for future generations to enjoy.
At China Camp State Park, those features are the picturesque waterfront views, the salt marsh, the abundance of wildlife, and the ancient oak trees.
Create a Plan
Matin Lowenstein expressed the importance of creating a crystal-clear plan and keeping that plan accessible for viewing at all times. Important topics to consider when making the plan are:
What purpose does the park serve?
What makes the park worth visiting?
What are the park’s fundamental values?
Involve the Community
Martin Lowenstein explained that community involvement is essential to the success of a park. Make it easy for citizens to voice their opinion about the park’s strengths and downfalls. The more insight from the public the park receives, the better.
Combine Preservation and Tourism
One of the most significant difficulties of managing a park is learning how to balance tourism and preservation. The goal is to promote safe and sustainable enjoyment of the park. This often means taking action to protect at-risk areas and providing all the amenities visitors need to enjoy the park without causing damage.
Keep Your Mind Open
Martin Lowenstein explains the importance of keeping an open mind when managing a park. Park management involves making numerous decisions, and they will sometimes take work. The key is to use available resources to make the best possible decisions for the park and its preservation.
For instance, a group of residents in the Pacific Northwest was concerned about the U.S. Forest Service using toxic herbicides to encourage plant growth. Park management worked with the community to create a plan to promote growth without using toxic products.
Executive Director Martin Lowenstein
Lowenstein is the current Executive Director of Friends of China Camp and is dedicated to preserving China Camp State Park for future generations. Lowenstein recommends that park managers work closely with the community and government organizations to keep parks thriving and available to everyone.