Martin “Cepi” Raffo, Diego Cannestraci, an unidentified man and Lala Caffarone look at the landscape outside Bariloche, Argentina.
Austin Weiss/Courtesy photo

A recent trip by the city’s top parks department officials to one of Aspen’s sister cities, Bariloche, Argentina, is evidence that the importance and complexities of open space management is shared across continents.

Mike Tunte, the city’s landscape architect and Austin Weiss, the city’s parks and recreation director, traveled to Bariloche in May at the invitation of Diego Cannestraci, a park superintendent for Nahuel Huapi National Park.

He requested some consultation on how to go about a management plan for a 7,000-acre park known as “Parque Central.”

Situated about 15 minutes north of Bariloche and along the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake, the government-owned land attracts all kinds of recreational activity including soccer, hiking, motocross, mountain biking, family picnics and more.

“There’s no management of this property right now and that’s the problem,” Weiss said, adding activity like illegal forestry and the formation of bandit trails are some of the issues facing Cannestraci and his fellow recreationalists. “One of their biggest challenges is to take a step back, do public outreach and build community buy-in.”

Cannestraci was in Aspen in 2019 because of his connection with Lala Caffarone, who is from Argentina, lives in Aspen and is one of the coordinators for Aspen Sister Cities Bariloche program.

Diego Cannestraci and Austin Weiss look out at Nahuel Huapi Lake outside off Bariloche, Argentina. | Courtesy photo
Photo courtesy/Austin Weiss

“He wanted to know about parks management and he said that Aspen is a good example with its trails and open space,” Caffarone said. “That’s when we started talking about a collaboration.”

Cannestraci met with Weiss, Jeff Woods, who was then parks and rec manager, and Tunte to talk

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