Cliffs of Fundy and Bonavista Peninsula Discovery Geopark – UNESCO Global Geoparks

Two places in Atlantic Canada are now recognized as the UNESCO Global Geoparks

Based on the UNESCO website, 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.” Before the recognition of Cliffs of Funday and the Discovery, Canada has three UNESCO Global Geoparks including Stonehammer, Tumbler Ridge, and Percé. 

Discovery UNESCO Global Geopark – Photo via Canadian Geo Parks

The Cliffs of Fundy Global Geopark, located in Nova Scotia, has officially become a UNESCO designation on July 10. It has 40 designated sites from Debert out to Isle Haute, covering approximately 165-kilometre drive. This area was first evaluated in 2018 and when the official announcement was made, the management team of the Cliffs of Fundy hopes that it will help develop the local economy through tourism. This area is a unique place on Earth where geologists can witness both the assembly of supercontinent Pangea 300 million years ago and its breakup 100 million years later. 

The Cliffs of Fundy Geopark – Photo via Canadian Geo Parks

Meanwhile, the Discovery Global Geopark in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Bonavista Peninsula officially becomes a UNESCO geopark thanks to its 560M-year-old fossils. The place has been described as “one of the most significant transitions in Earth’s history” by UNESCO.  Geologists found some of the earliest multi-cell organisms here and they said “with over 20 taxa present, these enigmatic fossils record the oldest architecturally complex multicellular lifeforms, providing a window to study the preface to the Cambrian Explosion.”  Generally speaking, both of these places are still primitive and if the authorities have plans to boost local tourism, they have a long way to go to attract more visitors. Tourists can have chances to see the highest tides in the world at the Cliffs but there should be more activities to develop sustainable tourism. “I think we have so much to offer with the mixture of the geology, the culture, the music, the arts, the local experience,” said Beth Peterkin, manager of the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark. “Get your feet and hands dirty in the tide.” 

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