The Cliffs of Fundy Geopark, It’s Official
It’s official. The speeches have been made and the ribbon was cut. The Cliffs of Fundy Global Geopark is open.
About 150 invited guests gathered this afternoon at the Five Islands Lighthouse Park to official launch Nova Scotia’s first geopark under the auspices of UNESCO.
With an official message delivered on behalf of the Governor General, Dr. John Calder confirmed his vision for the Cliffs of Fundy is now reality. Calder, a geologist, has long promoted the Nova Scotia shores of the Bay of Fundy as unique and worthy of international recognition.
The Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester noted the long history and significant contribution of the Mi’Kmaq who cultural roots are steeped in the traditions in and around the bay. Lenore Zann paid tribute to the many volunteers who kept pressing for proper recognition of the area’s significance to the world.
Speaker after speaker, including Nova Scotia’s Deputy Premier, and the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage lauded the local board of directors for their commitment to the project and their success in steering it through UNESCO.
The chair and vice chair of the board walked through the significant steps of the last five years of effort. With wide smiles, both Don Fletcher, a Cumberland Municipal Councillor, and Christine Blair, Mayor of Colchester County, emphasized how the joint effort allowed the project to grow and brought the two local governments together in a way not usually seen.
Blair noted how the initial vision was quite small by comparison, pretty much Advocate to Parrsboro, but in preparing the presentation for government and UNESCO consideration, it became obvious that a much greater tract of land carried the fullness of the area’s historical and cultural story.
The Cliffs of Fundy Geopark will extend from the Tantramar Marsh to the tidal bore interpretive centre on the outskirts of Truro, with about forty significant treasures in between.
A beaming Chief Robert Gloade from Millbrook looked on as the Iron Tide drummers and singers performed traditional Mi’kmaq songs (prayers) with dancers in full costume.
Dr. Don Julien, from the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq and the Mi’kmaq District of Shubenacadie, noted there will be a significant addition to the Geopark with the further development of the geological discoveries found in Debert, home of the oldest community in North America, dating about twelve thousand years ago.
As a geopark, it is a living community. It is not a fenced off treasure with a price for admission. A geopark preserves the history and traditions of a place in the world where people lived and continue to live. It is a story about the past with chapters about today and many more to be written about tomorrow.
The new global park is the fourth in Canada and joins 140 in the world. The interconnected nature of the UNESCO recognized parks ensures an interest worldwide. As word spreads about the Cliffs of Fundy, a half million international visitors is not out of the question. To say today's celebration marks an important milestone is truly an understatement.
The photo shows Vice Chair Christine Blair (centre) cutting the ribbon held by Chair Don Fletcher as they were surrounded by members of the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark Board of Directors.
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