Thompson-Nicola Regional District directors approved two $5,000 allocations from the North Thompson Economic Development Society during their Oct. 24 board meeting.
The spending had been recommended by Tim Pennell, director for Wells Gray Country (Area A).
The first allocation of $5,000 will go to Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA).
It will be used for the establishment of a Geopark initiative in the North Thompson Valley.
The first phase of the initiative is expected to cost $25,000.
It would seek to have the volcanoes of Wells Gray Park and area recognized as part of UNESCO’s World Geopark Network.
According to UNESCO, for a Geopark to apply to be included in the GGN, it needs to:
• have a management plan designed to foster socio-economic development that is sustainable based on geotourism:
• demonstrate methods for conserving and enhancing geological heritage and provide means for teaching geoscientific disciplines and broader environmental issues: and
• have joint proposals submitted by public authorities, local communities and private interests acting together, which demonstrate the best practices with respect to Earth heritage conservation and its integration into sustainable development strategies.
A tourism plan for the North Thompson Valley released last July included seeking Geopark status as part of a strategic priority for Wells Gray Park.
Geopark status is seen by many as a step towards eventual UNESCO World Heritage designation.
The second $5,000 will go to Wells Gray Outdoor Club to help pay the capital funding for phase one of the proposed Candle Creek mountain bike trail project. Look for more about this project in a future issue of the Times.
The money from the North Thompson Economic Development Society is the remainder of $1 million set aside after the wildfires of 2003. About $35,000 now remains in the fund.