Stonehammer First Global Geopark in North America
October 4, 2010
The Stonehammer Geopark, located in southern New Brunswick, has become the first North American member of the UNESCO –supported Global Geoparks Network (GGN). The announcement was made late Sunday at the 9th Annual European Geoparks Conference in Lesvos, Greece by the GGN Bureau. With the acceptance of the Stonehammer Geopark application, the GGN has 77 members in 24 countries throughout Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, the Middle East and now North America.
“The designation of the Stonehammer Geopark as North America’s first Global Geopark is wonderful recognition of the significant geological heritage of the region, as well as its great potential for sustainable economic development”, said Dr. Godfrey Nowlan, Chair of the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks.
“The success of this project is due in part to the incredible community support which we have received,” commented Bill Merrifield, Chair of the Stonehammer Board of Directors. “The range of organizations, provincial and municipal governments, businesses and individuals who have engaged in this project was identified by the GGN Bureau as one of the major assets of the Stonehammer Geopark application.”
The Stonehammer Geopark encompasses 2500 square kilometers of land in southern New Brunswick, stretching from Lepreau Falls to Norton, Saint John and Grand Bay-Westfield to St. Martin’s. The geology of the Geopark includes a billion years of stories, and has been studied by researchers for almost two hundred years. As well, the region has a vibrant human and cultural heritage, as well as active educational, tourism and community development sectors, all vital elements for a Global Geopark.
“The range of significant geological and paleontological stories within the Geopark is internationally unique,” stated Dr. Randall Miller, New Brunswick Museum Curator and the initiator of the community-led Stonehammer project. “As a founding member of the project, the New Brunswick Museum is very pleased to have the Stonehammer Geopark accepted into the Global Geoparks Network, and to be able to share these stories with residents as well as tourists from around the globe.”
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