What is a Geopark?
A Geopark is an area with an outstanding geological heritage and a strategy to promote that heritage for the benefit of the local community.
There are three geoparks in Scotland:
So what makes a geopark?
A geopark must contain several geological or geomorphological sites of national and international importance. These may be significant because of their scientific quality, rarity, aesthetic appeal or educational value. But geoparks are not just about rocks – they are also about people, and helping communities to understand their Earth heritage, and to benefit from it.
A geopark can include not only sites of geological importance, but also sites of archaeological, ecological, historical or cultural interest. A geopark territory must be large enough to allow for true economic development. Geoparks are driven by local communities that want to celebrate their Earth heritage and thereby achieve sustainable development of their area through ‘geotourism’.
A geopark must play an active role in the business of the European Geoparks Network (EGN). This involves collaborating with other geoparks on joint projects as well as exchanging ideas on how best to promote geopark activities. There are almost 60 geoparks in the EGN from over 20 European countries.