This study explores the contested nature of relationships between indigenous communities and their representative organizations, government agencies, and international conservation organizations in conservation projects, and how the move from the Yellowstone model of parks conservation to the community participation model may lead to conflicts between competing groups. In Napo-Galeras—a transition zone between the foothills of the Andes and the Ecuadorian Oriente rainforest—land tenure arrangements led to encroachments on protected areas by in-migrating Napo Runa and mestizo colonists. The study methodology employed participant observation, semi-structured ethnographic interviews with key stakeholders, and archival research in non-governmental organizations. This study concludes that conservation management plans should include environmental and social factors, which bear on resource use, and that indigenous participation alone in park planning does not necessarily lead to rainforest protection.