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NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
16 Oct 2000

    Geography
  • China
    Yunnan
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 28.4025   98.8111111
    Recording TimeCode
  • 46:51 - 49:00
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Decoded MS Stereo subjects 1-4.

Show: YGRP
Log of DAT #: 6
Engineer: McQuay
Date: 10/16/00

ng = not good
ok = okay
g = good
vg = very good

(the following - until we get to the interview -- is a rough log from Chris)
walking on gravel, path to 2:30
2:30 to 3:00..taking a GPS rading with Long/Ou end 3:50
Ambi to 4:55 Nice wind in trees.

6:06 walking w/ some chinese tibetan talk in bkgrnd. Nice wind.
End 6:55

7:00 Water, some bird calls, water loud, this si the stream we cross to Yubong? Ends 7:45

8:00 yak bells, water, he's eating for a little bit at top.

9:40 ver loud water some indistinct voice in background. Some singing and bells coming nearer. It's at the bridge to yubons.
10:45 horses crossing the bridge, singing, horse bells. End 11:55

12:10 morning at yubong, near stupa, water in small stream ends 14:40

14:50 closer to the stream, louder.

15:50. Closer yet to stream, some bird calls at top.
17:40 end

17:50 chickens and chicks, good sound, with yak bell in background,
@18:20, nice but bell is brief.
19:15 chicks only.
19:50. Woman loading firewood with chicks and yak bell. Woman muttering.
21:00 dog barking, with yak bell inbackground.
22:50 sound of stream outside stupa. Some chicne at top.
24:00 dog barking with stram
24:30 stream higher, then recedes as bill walks back. Some voices (kids) in bckgrnd.
27:40 close up of stream.
30:00 etc. conversations in tibetan with water in background. End 32:34

32:37 CJ - right, what do you think John?

32:40 John Sacklin (JS) - I think it is mainly conifer with bands and batches of Aspen and some oak I believe and some other species - Cerbus

Interview in Yubeng - based on split track

33:03 JS - I am John Sacklin I am the chief of planning at Yellowstone Natl Park.

CJ - What does that mean you are chief of planning?

JS - I am in charge of long term development and visitor use issues at Yellowstone.

33:19 CJ - so, you come here to Deqin to this mtg and now to Yubeng - who invited you?

JS - the Nature Conservancy invited me to come to Deqin and then on to Yubeng to be an advisor to them on the planning of Meli Schwinshan (sp) 33:36

CJ - and that is for the YGRP?

33:39 JS - yes, a portion of it is for the YGRP involves the Meli area, the NC is doing a site conservation plan for the Meli area and as a part of that planning they invited me to come in and be a planning advisor to them.

33:58 CJ - one of the things that I noticed at the Deqin conference - a lot of people know what Yellowstone is - and the people that are planning to develop this area for tourism and for conservation they tend to say Yellowstone, yes, Yellowstone we would like to have something like that here. Is that advisable, or even achievable given how Yellowstone was developed and how it was managed?

34:27 JS - I really don't think so. I don't think that Yellowstone should necessarily be the model for Meli. I think our experiences at Yellowstone, so of the knowledge we have gained over the yrs from our successes and our failures maybe we can apply here at - in the meli area. However I think that when Meli is developed as a world class tourism destination that it needs to have its own identity. That it can't be modeled over any other particular spot.

34:59 - CJ - is that alright with that ¿¿.

Talking in bg - not bad

CJ - can you be specific about - certain things that come to mind, again about Yellowstone, again it is the way it was created, or the way it is run now that backs up what you are saying

35:44 ambi - good for bg in the scene

35:53 JS - I think developments over the yrs at Yellowstone Natl Park have evolved in a, I would say traditional American way in visiting and enjoying their national parks, primarily in the use of their automobiles. People travel long distances to enjoy a place like Yellowstone, in their private auto. The majority the way that people see Yellowstone by many visitors is a roadside experience. I think similar experiences may be offered here at Meli, viewing opportunities from places like Fay-lay-su (sp) (CJ - what is that?) that is the religious site that is a wonderful overlook on the road btwn Dequin and the trail head here at Yubeng. I think those kind of locations offer similar opportunities to what we see at Yellowstone. But I also think the Meli area offers some different opportunities that I think the Chinese people can take advantage of. Back country opportunities - opportunities to get away from the roads, to really enjoy this spectacular scenery really up close. 37:18

37:19 CJ - here I am guessing, and neither of us know that much about Chinese culture, but it seems to me that a lot Chinese don't need the creature comforts that Americans do, and so they might be more attracted to a rugged outdoor experience.

37:39 JS - that is difficult to say. I have only been in China 10, 12 days obviously can't know a culture in the smallest amount in those few days. I do get a sense that the Chinese are concerned about the economy of this part of China, of NW Yunnan, and are concerned or believe that tourism is one of economic benefits that can ecru by having Meli recognized as a world class area

38:20 CJ - now the Chinese - certain tourism officials have maybe a diff concept of how tourism should work here. You run into this during your visit here

38:31 JS - during the workshop plans were presented, preliminary plans were presented for the Meli area by county officials. They got a basic - preliminary basic plan laid out for the area that ids where some developments may occur and the kind and size of the development. They seem willing to think about that plan to think about some elements of it based on the outcome of the workshop which was really heartening to hear.

39:03 CJ - but they have this tradition of mass tourism

39:06 JS - their focus and the focus of the county officials and their preliminary plans for the Meli area seem to be on mass tourism. Seem to be on encouraging and providing for a large number of people to visit this area

39:23 CJ - and so it is fair to say in the American model, at least in some of the parks, there is a duality of conservation and then a certain amount of tourism that is not going to adversely effect the conservation of the species and the land do you think there is a potential for that attitude here? Do people understand that?

39:55 JS - I believe the Chinese people by inviting the nature conservancy and to help them on planning for the Meli area really do have that in the back of their minds. I think they do recognize that the nature conservancy has a mission or a goal of helping protect or preserve the biodiversity and cultural diversity of an area. And I think by having a group like the nature conservancy be involved in the planning that is almost an opening recognition that the biological and cultural values of an area like Meli really need to be paramount. But I also believe that the Chinese govt is quite concerned about tourism development, quite concerned about the long term economics of this area and wish to address those through tourism development.

40:50 CJ - Well, there is a lot of poor people here

JS - yes, there are. As I understand it with changes in land use practices, the ban on commercial logging in particular has really changed the economy of this area dramatically and I think the Chinese govt is looking for other options for the area that can help bring money to NW Yunnan. 41:19

41:20 CJ - And then of course, making things even more complicated is the fact that this is largely Buddhist country with many sacred sights. Pilgrims come here as they have for perhaps centuries and you have to take that into consideration as well, something you don't run into in the US

41:41 JS - actually we do run into similar situations in the US in our natl parks by law and by policy we must recognize native american ¿¿in the US natl parks we must recognize native american areas in the natl parks - both law and policy require work with on a govt to govt relationship native am tribes that have an affiliation with our natl park areas. Many of those tribes have cultural sites, area of religious importance w/in natl park areas. We have consultations mtgs regularly w/native american orgs depending on the natl park and the native ams near by that - and through those consultations really do require us to take into account in our management those religious locations. So in that regard I would describe this area as being some what similar, but then again I do not know enough about Tibetan Buddhism to make a strong comparison of the two point by point, but I think the basic concept is there. 43:18
CJ - You have spent 3 - 4 days on a conference in Dequin on this. What did you find the most common questions people presented you with on feeling their way on how to do this.

43:31 JS - They usually would ask my advice when looking at a particular proposal - if I agreed with it or not. I sat in on the tourism workshop during the breakout section and we went point by point¿..most common question was did I agree with or would I have a particular suggestion. And based on my experience I could provide some suggestions. But I really tried to rather then provide specific directions tried to ask questions that I would ask of an area of a partic. Proposal to see if it made sense. Not in a critical way, but just from an understanding perspective. 44:28

44:29 CJ - but was there an consistency specifically on the kinds of things that they are worried about or that they are concerned about. What do you take away - the three or 4 most common concerns or interests.

44:42 JS - well clearly the Chinese govt¿..clearly the county govt in their proposal for Melei had a focus on mass tourism. I think our discussion in the mass tourism group was pointed out

TALKING IN BG - so a pause¿..

45:54 JS - clearly the focus as presented by the county for the Melei area was on mass tourism and in our tourism sub group we had a lot of discussion I will call it of quantity vs quality. I think the county on their planning thought the more people that would come to an area, the more money that would be spent, the more income that would be generated a number of us - not only myself, but other people that are working here in China, pointed out for discussion purposes that you can offer really high quality offerings to visitors and they will be willing to pay a lot more money. And that income in the end could probably be more than you could probably generate with a mass tourism model. We recognized that mass tourism would be appropriate in the town of Dequin, in a place like Del-a-su (sp) which is right along the main hwy - natl hwy 214, a wonderful overlook of Kawagabo but when you move away from the road, away from the main hwy to a more remote locations we suggested that perhaps a consideration of a higher quality kind of experience, far fewer number of people, might be appropriate. It might be worth seriously thinking about. I believe the county officials, provincial officials that were there were receptive to thinking about these more remote locations in that kind of context. 47:38

47:39 - 48:43 ambi in the place of the interview

48:47 CJ - that sounds like one of those balancing acts btwn conservation and access

48;53 JS - yes, I agree. It does sound like, and I think it will be a balancing act for the Melei area - it is sort of a classic situation where I think you need to look at both the

49:10 - 49:45 GREAT BIRD

49:46 JS - I think clearly in the Melei area we will have a classic situation of balancing masterism with lower number higher quality tourism with conservation of this wonderful area. I think that is why the evolvement with the nature conservancy canhelp bring those biological and cultural conservation questions in to the forefront so that as we move from broadscale planning to more site specific planning for Melei we can be sure to overlay that cultural and natural info so that if we decide for ex how many people are appropriate to come to you on a nightly/daily basis we can not only look at the natural resources that surround us that are obvious and beautiful, but the less obvious resources. Some of the biological diversity that may or may not be effected by larger numbers of people. We can look at the cultural values of a village like Yubeng and look at how visitors may or may not adversely effect those values 51:13 - in the long term.

51:14 CJ - now, that must be very tough - I mean, unless you know the particular mix of species here and their fragility how can you determine what is the appropriate amount of access.

51:24 JS I agree. And when people ask me in the US natl parks, esp our older ones - or even perhaps our newer ones, what would you do different if you could start over again. I think it would be to understand the natural and the cultural resources and values before the development actually occurs, and to plan that development and to take those resources and values more into consideration. Development at a place like Yellowstone really occurred initially to provide access to the great features of Yellowstone. Places like the Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, the Grand Canyon, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the development system or network that we have today was primarily based on access to those features. It was not based on the broader natural and cultural values of the area. I think in places like Meli we have an opportunity to understand at least some of those other resources and values aside from the obvious scenery, before development occur and as development does occur they can try to take those into consideration. Ultimately in a place like this it is really going to be up to the people, here, at the village level, at the county level, at the provincial level and the prefecture level and natl level to determine the future, and they are the ones who really will have to decide which resources are the most important, which values are the most important, what is best for the future of the area¿¿.53:24 53:35 I recognize when I come into an area like this - that I have never been into before - that I can - that my role as advisory - that I can give suggestions based on my experiences, my knowledge, experiences that we have had in US natl parks but ultimately it is the people here that have to make the decisions as to what they think the best future is for an area like Meli. 54:02

54:03 CJ - you have had a chance to look around at the Meli Snow Mtn range and this whole 4 great rivers area. How do you think it compares in diversity and in beauty to what we have in the US?

54:20 JS - I think I would rank it with any one of the most beautiful areas that I have been to in the US. The Yellowstone area where I work now; I worked on the north coast of California at Redwood natl Park for a number of years; I grew up in western Washington near the Seattle area, knew the Cascade mtns well. I have lived in Colorado some. I would rank this with any of the most beautiful areas and biologically diverse areas that I have had the opportunity to live and work in. People have often asked me in my few days here how would I compare this area to Yellowstone, and I try not to make a direct comparison bc each area is so different, both from a natural beauty perspective, and from a biological and diversity perspective. And I think each area has its own values based on the area itself, not based on the comparison of one area or another. 55:25

55:33 CJ - someone who manages the gym of the American park system if some how you were dropped into this Meli Snow Mtn Range and this 4 rivers area and said, ok, you have 5 yrs to turn this into a conservation area and a series of Natl parks, what would you focus on in the first 5 yrs.

55:59 JS - Well my first response would be why do we need to rush into this
Why do we need to make this a world class area in 5 yrs. This area has been here for thousands of yrs. I think we have some time - some more time then just a few yrs to decide and to look at what is best for the Meli area. That would be my first question - I think I would ask: why just 5 yrs? Number 2 I would take my first years to really understand the natural and cultural values of this area. The same time, if development seemed to be an imperative, I would suggest we proceed slowly - that is, look at the kinds of developments that are smaller scale, lower key perhaps, that can be sustained now by the number of visitors that might come into the areas in the near futures. We don't make a huge investment that will have a poor return on if the number of visitors don't materialize right away. 57:20 I would want to do some market analysis, just as I am doing the biological and cultural studies so that I could better understand what really would attract people to the Meli area, and then begin to develop a business plan and part of that would be a marketing plan for the area just I am understanding the biological net and cultural systems. 57:47

57:48 CJ - I realize there are inholdings, I think they call them. There are people who live w/in parks¿a lot of people who live here, a lot of people depending on the area¿that must make it a more difficult proposition.

58:11 JS - I am not sure it makes it more difficult necessarily. I think it adds an element that we often don't necessarily have in some of US natl Parks, especially our older, larger ones in the west where there are fewer in-holdings w/in the park but I think what we call newer Natl Parks in the US, called urban park areas that are in and around cities in the US. Those parks are operated in more of a partnership type of a mode, where management of the park is the responsibility of the natl park services, but there is a very close relationship btwn park mngt and the surrounding communities. I think that perhaps is a model that is close to what we will prob see here in the future in a place like MeLi. 59:06 that what ever occurs will have to occur in concert w/a village here like yubeng. 59:20

CJ - ok.

59:48 - 1:07:15 Ambi of area

1:07:30 CJ - so did we miss anything?

JS - perhaps one thing - as I have been here for a few days and really have a chance to see it, to learn a little bit about the area to get to know the people and understand some of the issues - at least superficially - I think I recognize that things will change - changes will come to MeLi Susshan. I think the challenge, the opp that we face is helping guide those changes I think that is the ultimate challenge is to - you will understand that change will occur, this is not a static environment, either from a natural, a cultural a social, a political perspective, but through this kind of ecoregional and site conservation plan we have the opportunity to guide those changes at least a little bit and help make MeLi as wonderful an area in the future as it is today - and do we know that bird is on top of that???? (CJ - could you describe it for me?) it has got a black head with a white on top. I have been asking Bob but he doesn't know bc he is a plant guy - you know how they are

1;09:00 CJ - One quick question - do you think the people here have any kind of perception of what is going to hit them if this becomes a world class ecoregional tourist site?

1:09:12 JS - no, I honestly don't think they really do understand that would occur to the area. I don't mean that in a negative way or in a disparaging way when I say it - I think it is difficult for any of us to really predict the future in any coherent way - to really understand the future in a way that may make sense. We but everything in our own perspective (Yaks loud as they pass by) inour own frame work. Perhaps in some of our experiences we can illustrate to people what those changes might be but it is really hard to conceive of them until they arrive. 1:09:55

great YAKS from 1:09:56

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