Governance of protected areas is a rapidly growing research field as new actors rather than governments play crucial roles in decision-making processes, and new forms and mechanisms of decision-making complement existing regulations. However, little is known about the key characteristics of new forms of protected area governance and how they differ from older governance concepts. In this paper we use the example of newly established regional nature parks in Switzerland to address similarities and differences between new and older concepts of governance, and to address similarities and differences between different regional practices of new protected area governance across Switzerland. Drawing on different empirical sources and methods, our findings reveal diverse governance practices of regional nature parks in Switzerland. We identified three forms of park organization: (i) organized as association; (ii) parks affiliated to single municipalities; and (iii) parks associated with a regional development bodies. Different governance practices also result from different forms of regional embeddedness between top-down and bottom-up approaches and the related tensions.