New products will help visitor experience at Anavilhanas National Park

Last June, interpretation specialists from USFS and Colorado State University’s Center for Protected Area Management joined the staff of the Anavilhanas National Park to develop interpretative products for guides and boat operators. The need for support in developing materials for existing and potential boat operators and guides who work with tourists in the Anavilhanas aquatic trails network was identified in the Anavilhanas’ Park Interpretation Plan, developed under the PCAB.

The two-day training focused on process and empowerment and included an initial meeting with stakeholders to collect their ideas and concepts for product development. In the ensuing weeks, the team met regularly with the Park’s staff to discuss theory and practice related to sign design and content, text writing, and project management. The team also met with prospective artists, graphic designers, and printers. The public use coordinator from Jaú National Park, adjacent to Anavilhanas and part of the broader Mosaic of Protected Areas in the Lower Negro River, also participated in some of the sessions.

Products chosen for this project include an interpretive map in English and Portuguese explaining , the region’s rich biodiversity with some 400 islands, 60 lakes and various channels. The team also worked on bilingual interpretive welcome signs for use in town and for two bases of the Instituto Chico Mendes de Biodiversidade (ICMBio) located along the aquatic trail. ICMBio is the government institute in charge of management of Parks, Reserves and other Federal Protected Areas in Brazil.

Once implemented, these interpretive products will enhance the visitors’ experience, provide value added and a feeling of support to local community guides. Plus, they will enable the park to ensure that the conservation vision is communicated to visitors in a consistent way. ICMBio led the interpretive product development process from start to finish.

Development and implementation of these products will take more time, planning and skill, so in the last three days of the project the team worked on a “how-to” guide tailored to Anavilhanas National Park that includes technical specifications for all of the products, a detailed budget, timeline, step-by-step tasks and checklists, samples of contracts, tips to stay organized, and other recommendations. This master document will provide the Park’s staff with the tools they need to continue working on the products, but it can also be adapted to interpretative projects in other conservation units in the Amazon Region. The final products are expected to be completed by early October 2018.

Anavilhanas National Park, which is also a recognized World Heritage site and part of the Biosphere Reserve of Central Amazon is a PCAB demonstration site for development of best practices for interpretation and visitor management.