This paper explores the role of social capital and governance in rural development within Slovensky Raj National Park. Based on the theory of common pool resources and network governance, the case study explores the external and internal influences on cooperation. Current decision making in the Park is still affected by post socialist relations. In particular inefficient institutional design and non-robust governance of the resources have resulted in over-exploitation of natural resources and treating common property as open-access. Evidence emerged of domination of interpersonal trust and failure of institutional design. These were found as barriers for the National Park to be viewed by various actors as an asset. Concurrently, municipal and tourism networks reveal that cooperation is gradually moving from being externally to internally driven, while displaying characteristics of bottom-up development. A hierarchical governance structure is thus slowly opening up, shifting towards networks.