Designating parks and protected areas is one of the most common conservation strategies. Ideas about this mode of landscape level conservation have been shaped by many narratives and debates. These narratives include stories and assumptions about the role of humans on a landscape, how the landscape and its features should be perceived, how the landscape and its resources should be reserved or utilized, and who is best able to make those decisions. In Baja California Sur, a group of conservation actors has submitted paperwork in the hopes of establishing a new protected area, Sierras de la Giganta and Guadalupe Biosphere Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera de las Sierras de La Giganta y Guadalupe). The actors who wrote the proposal and its supplementary materials constituted a discourse community, or a collection of people who engage pre-existing ideas, both shaping further discussion while the body of literature continues to frame the topic. I went to Baja California Sur and drew data from the draft proposal and supporting documents as well as from fourteen key informant interviews with members of this discourse community. While the document writers invoked the narrative of humans as fundamentally destructive to nature in the proposal and supplementary documents, they invoked the narrative of humans as a part of nature living or depending on natural systems much more frequently. This narrative was often coupled with the idea of ecosystem services and with the idea that nature is fragile. The documents also presented protecting ranching and the ranchero way of life as an equally important aspect of conservation. This discourse community worked within the conservation tradition of Mexico's system of parks and protected areas. Partly shaped by the outside discourse of community-based management, partially driven by the backgrounds and motivations of the actors involved, the emergent discourse was that the conventional concepts of conservation were a lower priority to this discourse community than local needs and issues of community empowerment. This process of documenting the conservation process and the experiences that go into designing a Biosphere Reserve provides insights into how protecting and understanding resources occurs at the landscape level.