At the gala dinner last night, concluding the sixth UNESCO International Conference of Global Geoparks, 11 new geo-parks were designated.

One of them was the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark, and it comes as the second in North America, the first in the west, and one out of 111 supported by UNESCO worldwide.

“The process for Tumbler Ridge to receive this honour has been a long one. The amount of dedicated work by the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society, the Peace River Paleontological Research Center, and the Tumbler Ridge Aspiring Geopark Committee has been immense and the reason for this amazing success,” Chief Admistrative Officer for the District of Tumbler Ridge, Barry Elliot said in a written statement.

Elliot adds, “These groups took this project from an idea and through continuing world class paleontological research, geological research, trail building, sign creation, and event hosting became the second Geo-Park in North America. We would like to express our deepest thanks to this well organized and hardworking group of people.”

The Tumbler Ridge Aspiring Geopark Society sent seven delegates to the Saint John, New Brunswick conference, which was attended by nearly 500 delegates from 30 different countries.

The UNESCO Geoparks are a network of parks in 30 countries across the world. They serve to recognize the unique world class features of an area as well as educate people on the geological features within the parks and need for resource development.

Geoparks differ from World Heritage Sites and National Parks in that there are no restrictions placed on recreational use, resource exploration and development, or sporting activities such as hunting and fishing.