The Mountain Institute’s programs in Asia started in the mid-1980’s with the “Heart of the Himalaya” initiative. TMI worked to establish two mountain areas as protected: the Makalu-Barun National Park in Nepal and the Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) Nature Preserve in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. These achievements could not have been accomplished without a trusting collaborative relationship between the park managers and the local communities. These pioneering projects were some of the earliest iterations of the community-based project design that has since become the cornerstone of TMI’s programs.