The CREDA File

Ron Robinson
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Joggins Fossil Cliffs make the list

Welcome to the CREDA File, a monthly column on economic development issues and activities in Cumberland County from the files of the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association.

What do the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, the Grand Canyon, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and the Galapagos Islands have in common? They're all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The much anticipated announcement that Joggins will be added to the prestigious list of Natural World Heritage Sites was made by the World Heritage Committee on July 7 during its annual meeting in Quebec City. Several hundred officials and local residents gathered at the Joggins Fossil Centre for almost four hours to nervously await the news from Quebec City. When Larry Ostala, director general of National Historic Sites for Parks Canada announced via a video hookup that Joggins was unanimously accepted there were cheers, handshakes, hugs, and, yes, even a few tears.

Joggins Fossil Cliffs becomes the 15th World Heritage Site in Canada and the second site in Nova Scotia to receive such a distinction. Lunenburg was the first site designated as such in Nova Scotia in 1995.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) recommended that the World Heritage Committee inscribes the Joggins Fossil Cliffs on the World Heritage List and adopt the following statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

"The Joggins Fossil Cliffs have been termed the "coal age Galapagos" and are the world reference site for the "Coal Age." Their complete and accessible fossil-bearing rock exposures provide the best evidence known of the iconic features of the Pennsylvanian (or Carboniferous) period of Earth History."

The IUCN pointed to the "very high quality of documentation of the nomination and the process of community engagement in its preparation over a period of almost 10 years, as models in the preparation of nominations and in effective management of World Heritage properties." (The nomination documentation was authored by Jenna Boon, director of the Joggins Fossil Institute and John Calder, senior geologist, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.

The IUCN recommends that "the State Party widely publicize the results of its monitoring of fossil resources produced by natural erosion and the development of educational and research collecting policies, which could serve as a model for such management elsewhere."

The designation is the culmination of a collaborative effort led by a project team that included numerous dedicated individuals from all levels of government, members of the scientific community, tourism organizations, and representatives from the community working with CREDA to develop the fossil cliffs. The not-for-profit Joggins Fossil Institute has been developed to aid in the promotion and development of the fossil cliffs and to protect, conserve, present, and transmit to future generations the values of this remarkable site.

The inscription comes on the heels of the opening in April of the award-winning, environmentally friendly, 13-thousand square foot Joggins Fossil Centre, which has already generated widespread interest and has attracted a significant number of visitors from around the world.

The cliffs gained fame in the 19th century through the pioneering geological studies of Sir William Logan, Sir William Dawson and Sir Charles Lyell. They discovered a 300-million-year-old fossilized forest, amphibians and reptiles from the Carboniferous period. The reptile skeletons remain the oldest ever found. Charles Darwin mentions the cliffs in his theory of evolution. To this day they continue to be extensively studied by paleontologists and geologists from around the world, who have nicknamed them the Coal Age Galapagos.

Three levels of government contributed approximately $10-million dollars to help create a world-class tourism and heritage site at the Fossil Cliffs, to enhance protection of the site, improve beach access and safety, and to support of the World Heritage nomination.

If you have any questions or want further information about CREDA phone 667-3638 or visit our website @ CREDA is Quality System Registered to ISO 9001:2000.

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association, World Heritage Committee, Joggins Fossil Centre UNESCO National Historic Sites Parks Canada Joggins Fossil Institute International Union for the Conservation of Nature Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources State Party Quality System Registered

Geographic location: Quebec City, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia Grand Canyon Australia Great Barrier Reef Galapagos Islands Canada

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