What is a Geopark?

Z Bend River Trail, Kalbarri National Park. Photo Credit:Tourism Western Australia

Geoparks are primarily geological areas which have unique or interesting features. They were created by a branch of the United Nations called the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which focuses on environmental sustainability and conservation.

The geological importance of a Geopark is the foundation for the park to act as a catalyst for regional socioeconomic development via geotourism. This development will be fuelled by the conservation and education of the significant geological features. A key aspect of Geoparks is that they are driven from the grassroots throughout the development process which has numerous benefits over a top down approach. A major benefit of this approach is that important decisions regarding the Geopark will be made by people who have a long lasting commitment to and knowledge of the region as local members of the community.