It would be a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Global Geopark, and the second of its kind in North America. There are currently 80 UNESCO Geoparks worldwide.
A Global Geopark is defined as an area with geological heritage of international significance, which is being used to the sustainable development of its local communities. This committee believes the Tumbler Ridge area matches that description well, due to its fossil heritage and "numerous" geological features, including waterfalls, rock formations, alpine summits, and caves. It also points to programs provided by the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre as well as museum exhibits and extensive hiking trails to those geological features.
The 7,822 square kilometre area would have proposed boundaries that extend east to the Alberta border, west to Mount Palsson, south to Bulley Glacier Peak and north to Skunk Falls. Charles Helm, Chair of the Tumbler Ridge Aspiring Geopark Steering Committee, believes the proposal would mean significant benefits for the Peace Region, including economic diversification, community sustainability and job creation, as well as further celebrating its heritage.
The committee has already had $367,500 in funding committed from the Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, which will cover the construction of a new collections building for the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre. The PRRD is being asked to fund $250,000 for renovations to the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, travel expenses for members of the committee to attend a mandatory Global Geopark international event, and the 2013 Tumbler Ridge Aspiring Geopark Symposium. That event will be the fifth Peace Region Paleontology Symposium, intended to inform the public about the proposed Geopark and get support for the formal application, which is expected to be submitted this fall. It will last two days and will include helicopter trips to take representatives of the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks to points of interest.
The PRRD referred the request for funding to staff for a report.
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