The first part of the paper examines Slovenian agricultural and environmental policy related to nature protection and sustainable rural development in the period of the country's transition. This period has been characterised by creation a new independent state, introduction of a multi-party democratic political system, transformation of planned-market economy to market economy as well as by the coming accession to the EU. The analysis of relevant laws reveals that environment and nature protection legislation is more advanced and more effective in practice than agricultural and forestry legislation, both, however, displaying a top-down approach. In the second part of the paper, empirical studies are made into the impact of the different laws on agriculture, forestry and environment protection practices as well as into the proposed foundation of Trnovski Gozd Regional Park as a protected area. The empirical studies were based on interviews made with 20 members of local and 7 members of state elite. Local and state elite respondents believe that, despite some limitations, the park will offer good opportunities for local development (promotion of the area, new jobs, eco-tourism), and by the same token guarantee protection of nature/biodiversity and the environment. The local elite respondents, furthermore, agree that local authorities and local residents (NGOs) should participate at all stages of the foundation of the regional park.