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 pople, and helping communities to understand their Earth heritage, and to benefit from it.An Sgurr, Eigg.

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.

 

About Lochaber Geopark

Lochaber Geopark is famous for its spectacular scenery. Many geological features of national and international importance can be seen right across Lochaber – ranging from a deeply eroded volcano on Rum in the west, to the amazing Parallel Roads of Glen Roy in the east.

The outstanding quality of Lochaber’s Earth Heritage was officially recognised in April 2007 when Lochaber was awarded European and Global Geopark status. Lochaber Geopark left the networks in 2011 and are now in the process of reapplying.

“Lochaber Geopark is a community based organisation with the overall vision to ensure that the Lochaber area gains from its rich geological heritage.”

Lochaber Geopark Association Aims

  • Raise awareness of Lochaber’s outstanding geology and geomorphology, both locally and beyond the area.
  • Promote awareness and appreciation of the links between the geological heritage, the natural heritage, the cultural heritage, the landscape and land use in Lochaber.
  • Encourage and support the sensitive interpretation of Lochaber’s geological heritage.
  • Encourage and support economic and social development based on Lochaber’s geological heritage.
  • Encourage educational initiatives, training opportunities and research activities that relate to Lochaber’s geological heritage.
  • Encourage and promote the sustainable use of geological resources in Lochaber.

Collaboration & funding

Lochaber Geopark Association works with a wide range of local and national organisations including:

  • John Muir Trust
  • The Association of Lochaber Community Councils
  • Nevis Partnership
  • Lochaber Chamber of Commerce
  • British Geological Survey
  • Forestry Commission
  • National Trust for Scotland and Visit Scotland

Geopark has been funded in the past by the Scottish Government as well as Scottish Natural Heritage, The Highland Council, HIE Lochaber, Leader+, The Heritage Lottery Fund and The Robertson Trust.  Currently we are part funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and are a registered charity.  LGA is partially self funding through our publications, excursions, visitor centres and shop.  We also rely on charitable donations.