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BY CRAIG PITTMAN

In inlet in the Persian Gulf, in Qatar's Khor Al-Adraid region. Courtesy National Park Service.

Inland Sea in the Persian Gulf, in Qatar’s Khor Al-Adaid region. Courtesy National Park Service.

From the April 2014 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

We Americans sometimes take our national parks for granted. After all, we’ve got 59 of them, and they’ve been around since 1872, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed the law creating the first one the world had ever seen, Yellowstone National Park. Other countries envy our parks, and some want American help in creating their own. That’s where the landscape architects of the National Park Service (NPS) step in. Through an office established in 1962, they have assisted Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Pakistan, and Japan, among other countries.

“Many countries around the world do look to the United States as a leader in park and protected area management,” says David Krewson of the NPS’s Office of International Affairs. “These kinds of projects also give us a chance to learn innovative practices from other countries’ park agencies.”

It’s not easy duty. Look what happened when Qatar asked for help with its Khor Al-Adaid area, also known as the Inland Sea. Inhabited by flocks of flamingos, hedgehogs, gerbils, ospreys, sand gazelles, and wild camels, the region was already attracting tourists enthralled by its towering dunes and dramatic rock outcroppings.

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