This article advocates a neopragmatic approach to collaborative planning in protected areas characterized by historical conflict among diverse stakeholders. Our example is a multisectoral process initiated to address use and development conflicts in the international tourism destination of Banff National Park, Canada. We show how philosophical presuppositions (essentialism and metaphysical realism) can impede collaboration and exacerbate problems when categories like environmentalist and terms like ecological integrity are used. Rather than fixing categories and terms up front, a more fluid planning approach is advocated; terms are flexible and meanings emerge through dialogue. Shared descriptions replace contentious categories and terms.