The Burdur Lake basin in Turkey's Mediterranean region has been facing severe environmental damage in the form of increased pollution and a decrease in water volume, despite its Ramsar status as a major wintering site for the endangered white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala). In fact, after the basin was granted Ramsar status it was made the subject of a 'hard-park' conservation policy. This in practice disenfranchised and alienated local people but did not lead to the effective preservation of the basin.We aim to shed light on the political ecology of the ongoing degradation, which has layers at local, national, and international levels, by using both quantitative and qualitative methods (consisting of in-depth interviews, focus groups, and face-to-face, randomly selected interviews with 625 people). We specifically explore the possible reasons why local people by and large did not - despite their high level of environmental concern about the site - demand conservation policies or voluntarily take action to preserve their site. Acknowledging that the sources of the problem are multilayered in nature, thus requiring a multilevel solution, we then propose a governance modality tailored for the case at hand. Since many of the problems that Burdur Lake faces are not unique, it is hoped that the conducted analysis will be relevant to other similar sites.