What is a UNESCO Geopark?

UNESCO Global Geoparks are geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed according to a global concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Their bottom-up approach, combining conservation and sustainable development while involving local communities, is becoming increasingly popular. Elsewhere in the country and in the world, Percé is often cited as a reference, since it was itself founded through a social solidarity cooperative.

In 2018, there are 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks distributed across 38 countries. The majority of Geoparks are located in China and Europe, while more and more "In the Making" Geoparks are appearing on all five continents. At the moment, we have five in North America, two in Mexico and three in Canada. These are Stonehammer Geopark, located in southern New Brunswick, Tumbler Ridge Geopark, located in British Columbia and the Geopark of Percé (Quebec) which obtained the official status of UNESCO World Geopark in April 2018.

Celebrate the heritage of the Earth

The UNESCO Global Geopark in Percé is located at the eastern end of the Gaspé Peninsula, in eastern Quebec, Canada. The climate of the peninsula, greatly influenced by its relief, is generally classified as boreal with cold and dry winters (-20 ° C), but mild summers (more than 10 ° C).

Its territory presents two distinct environments: terrestrial and marine. The terrestrial environment has various reliefs, while the marine environment offers a great diversity of landscapes such as cliffs, islands, beaches and bays. This area contains several ecosystems that give the region its diversity in terms of fauna and flora. The most remarkable and famous natural phenomenon is the presence of the most accessible colony of Northern Gannets on Bonaventure Island, with more than 121 000 Gannets listed in 2008.

Percé also witnessed the birth of geology in Canada, since it was in this region that Sir William Logan, the first director of the Geological Survey of Canada, began geological mapping of Canada.

An exploration and observation framework

The main objective of a Geopark is above all to preserve the structure of its habitats, its fauna and flora. It achieves its goals through a three-pronged approach: conservation, education and geotourism. A Geopark provides a framework for exploration and observation, where it is possible to touch, examine and reconnect with specimens of interest, such as rock structures, rare plants and some animal species. It is also the subject of various scientific studies, in addition to offering a range of activities to enjoy the landscape.

Heritage preservation

The mission of a Geopark is to protect and conserve the integrity of a site's geological heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. The enhancement and conservation of the site are the very foundations of the Geopark concept. It becomes a tool for sustainable development for communities. The information is adapted according to the history, the culture, the climatic conditions and the geographical situation of the site.