UNESCO Global Geoparks

What is a UNESCO Global Geopark?

UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. A UNESCO Global Geopark uses its geological heritage, in connection with all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, to enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society, such as using our earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing risks related to natural disasters. By raising awareness of the importance of the area’s geological heritage in history and society today, UNESCO Global Geoparks give local people a sense of pride in their region and strengthen their identification with the area. The creation of innovative local enterprises, new jobs and high quality training courses is stimulated as new sources of revenue are generated through geotourism, while the geological resources of the area are protected.

Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark

As North America’s first UNESCO Global Geopark, Stonehammer is not only interesting geologically, but it is also the reflection of the people living there and is of great social and cultural interest. Located in southern New Brunswick, this Geopark has a billion years of the Earth's history to share.

The lives of the inhabitants of the area are shaped by the geology; where they settle, the landscape, the crops they grow, natural hazards, water resources, climate, what they mine, and the energy they use are all linked to geology.

With a landscape created by the collision of continents, the closing and opening of oceans, volcanoes, earthquakes, ice ages and climate change, Stonehammer also includes geological stories of all ages, from late Precambrian time, a billion years ago, to the most recent Ice Age.

Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark

The Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark is notable for its geographical location in a wild and remote location, giving visitors the authentic feeling of a sparsely inhabited frontier region.

It is the first Global Geopark in western North America, and therefore the first to represent the plate tectonics that have led to the formation of the Rocky Mountains.

Mountain and foothill geology spans a Precambrian to Cretaceous time range, even including Pleistocene deposits, and preserves part of the Triassic Pangea shoreline, as well as the interchanging marine and terrestrial intervals of a fluctuating Western Interior Seaway.

This is complemented by an abundance of palaeontological phenomena, which form the basis for ongoing scientific research, exhibits and programs. Cretaceous dinosaur tracks (many of which are of global significance), a Cretaceous dinosaur bonebed with unusual features, and Triassic fishes and marine reptiles are of particular importance.

The Dinosaur Discovery Gallery in Tumbler Ridge forms a major attraction, while a network of hiking trails leads to numerous geosites, but also to spectacular waterfalls, dinosaur trackways, mountain summits, sedimentary rock formations, caves and canyons.

Canadian National Committee

The Canadian National Committee for Geoparks (CNCG) is a national committee that was formed in 2009 under the auspices of the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences (CFES) to address the need for coordination of UNESCO Global Geopark applications from Canada. There are approximately 10 aspiring Geoparks at varying levels of readiness to submit a formal application to become a Geopark. The committee has established guidelines governing the process by which Canadian communities can aspire to UNESCO Global Geopark status and assists communities to improve their applications that are sent to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO then to the UNESCO Secretariat in Paris. The CNCG conducts site visits prior to applications being sent to UNESCO and advises on strengths and shortcomings of aspiring Geoparks in Canada.

Committee members are:

Godfrey Nowlan (Chair)
Retired research scientist formerly with the Geological Survey of Canada, Calgary, AB

Gail Bremner
Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark, Saint John, NB

John Calder
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, Halifax, NS

Jeff Hunston
Department of Culture and Tourism, Whitehorse, YK

Steve Johnston
University of Victoria, BC

Randy Miller
New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, NB

Dr. Rudy Reimer/Yumks
Simon Fraser University, BC

Pierre Verpaelst
Quebec City, QC

Larry White
Tumbler Ridge UNESCO Global Geopark, BC

Daniel Lebel, Ex Officio
Natural Resources Canada, Geological Survey of Canada

Tom Casadevall, Ex Officio
United States Geological Society

Xavier Le Guyader
Canadian Commission for UNESCO

Sébastien Goupil
Canadian Commission for UNESCO