Niagara Aspiring Geopark

Niagara Aspiring Geopark

Project By: Eric Tincombe, Jessica Serravalle & Marcio Cruz

*Project Value: $34,168

*For educational purposes only

For more information, visit the Niagara Aspiring Geopark Community Page.

A Geopark is an area with distinct geological heritage as recognized by the UNESCO supported Global Geopark Network. Geoparks operate with three specific goals in mind: conservation, education, and geotoursim. Geoparks seek to conserve significant geological features by providing a management authority which works in collaboration with universities, geological surveys, and relevant statutory organizations to ensure adequate protection for geological sites. Geoparks communicate scientific geological information to the public through a range of means including Geosites, museums, information centres, guided tours, trails, school involvement, popular literature, maps, educational materials, seminars and more. Geoparks also stimulate the local economy though sustainable geotourism. Geoparks attract visitors to the region in which they are situated, thereby benefitting local businesses both directly and indirectly involved in the geotourism industry.

The Niagara Region’s wide range of unique geological features, rich cultural heritage, and existing tourism infrastructure make it an excellent candidate for Geopark designation. Geospatial Niagara is committed to leading the charge for Niagara to be designated as a Global Geopark. We encourage any and all participation as we move forward through the application process. We need your passion, commitment and expertise. For more information about the Niagara Aspiring Geopark, email geospatialniagara@gmail.com.

Phase 1 of this project was completed as part of the Niagara College GIS/Geospatial Management Thesis project.

Below is information about Geoparks provided by the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks.

What is a Geopark?

A Geopark is an area that has geological heritage of international significance. Geoparks conserve the geoheritage and use it for educational purposes to promote awareness of Earth processes and highlight key issues facing society in the context of our dynamic planet. However, Geoparks aren’t just about geology, they also take include sites with interesting archaeology, wildlife and habitats, history, folklore and culture, all of which are intricately linked with the underlying geology and the culture of the people who live in the area.

What is a Global Geopark?

A Global Geopark is a unified area with geologic heritage of international significance recognized by the Global Geoparks Network, which is supported by UNESCO. There are more than one hundred Global Geoparks in the world.

Geoparks encourage Sustainable Economic Development

The development may take the form of sustainable tourism through, for example, the construction of walking or cycling trails, training of local people to act as guides, encouraging tourism and accommodation providers to follow international best practice in environmental sustainability. It can also be about simply engaging with local people and respecting their traditional way of life. Unless a Global Geopark has the support of local people it will not succeed.

Geoparks and Science

Global Geoparks are encouraged to work with academic institutions to engage in active scientific research in the Earth Sciences, and other disciplines as appropriate, to advance knowledge about the Earth and its processes. A Global Geopark is not a museum, it is an active laboratory where people can become engaged in science from the highest academic research level to the level of the curious visitor.

Geoparks and Culture

Geoparks are fundamentally about people and about exploring and celebrating the links between our communities and the Earth. The Earth shapes farming practices, the building materials and methods used for homes, even our mythology, folklore and folk traditions. Geoparks therefore engage in activities to celebrate these links. Many Global Geoparks have strong links to the arts communities where the synergy released by bringing science and the arts together can yield surprising results.