Share knowledge and help achieve Global Geopark status for North Thompson area

Wells Gray North Thompson – Robson Valley Global Geopark Project invites you to participate

Do you have knowledge to share about local sites of geological, cultural, ecological and historical significance?

Interested in learning about the potential economic development opportunities a Global Geopark designation could create for your community?

The Wells Gray North Thompson – Robson Valley Global Geopark Project Steering Committee invites you to attend an upcoming public information session being hosted in one of four communities from Mar. 3 to 5; Valemount, McBride, Clearwater and Chu Chua.

Tourism product development is the mandate of the Barriere to McBride Tourism Steering Committee, which is just one part of the McBride to Barriere Corridor economic development project that was started early in 2012, and spearheaded by the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Development.

One of the strategic priorities identified in the corridor was pursuing Geopark status as identified in the North Thompson Valley Tourism Plan for 2013-14.  The idea then grew from investigating the possibility of having Wells Gray Provincial Park designated as a geopark, to including areas of the North Thompson and Robson Valley as well.

Geoparks have been shown to raise awareness and increase visitors to an area, with over 30 Geoparks now in countries around the world, but only one in Canada, Stonehammer in Saint John, NB.

The body that bestows Global Geopark status is the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  Status comes via a less stringent application process than trying for status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Acquiring Geopark status is a long process, but spokesmen for the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Development say the potential benefit for the region and return on investment is well worth the effort.

The project is based on community engagement, identifying significant sites and gauging support for a Geopark within the corridor. Site management and land use issues are to be addressed, including business opportunity and impacts to the areas identified.

Should the Wells Gray North Thompson – Robson Valley be successful in its bid to be designated a Global Geopark, it would only be the second in North America.

A company out of Kelowna, Tourism Planning Group, have been contracted to conduct the product development feasibility study for  Wells Gray North Thompson – Robson Valley Global Geopark.

At this point the project is encouraging community participation and input by hosting meetings in four communities within the corridor.   Choose the session time and location that suits you best and find out what this project will mean for your community and the valley.

• Chu Chua – Tuesday, Mar. 3, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, Simpcw First Nation, 500 Dunn Lake Road.

• Clearwater – Tuesday, Mar. 3, 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm or 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, at the Dutch Lake Community Centre, 209 Dutch Lake Road.

• Valemount – Wednesday, Mar. 4 – 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm, at the Valemount Visitor Information Centre, 785 Cranberry Lake Road.

• McBride – Thursday, Mar. 5, 9:30 am to 11:30 am, at the Robson Valley Community Centre, 441 Columbia Street.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Global Geopark Project Steering Committee is made up of representatives from: Simpcw First Nation, District of Barriere, District of Clearwater, Resort Municipality of Sun Peaks, Tourism Sun Peaks, Village of McBride, Village of Valemount, Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, Tourism Wells Gray, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, and Thompson Rivers University.