The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has established its first sister park with Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.           

Khao Yai Superintendent Krissada Homsud currently is traveling in the U.S. with a group of park managers from Thailand as part of a professional exchange program sponsored by the State Department.           

They met last week with Smokies managers, biologists, entomologists, educators and historians.           

According to Smokies officials, both parks are the most visited National Parks in their countries and both have significant biodiversity. Both parks are popular with tourists for their wildlife, streams and waterfalls, and lush mountain forests.           

Smokies Superintendent Dale Ditmanson said in a news release that there already has been an incredible exchange of information and park officials look forward to continuing to learn from each other.