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Geopark project extends to include Bass River

Marlee Leslie is the new project coordinator for the Cliffs of Fundy Aspiring Global Geopark project.
Marlee Leslie is the new project coordinator for the Cliffs of Fundy Aspiring Global Geopark project. - Andrew Wagstaff

Application to be submitted ‘soon’, says project coordinator

PARRSBORO, N.S. – The Cliffs of Fundy Aspiring Global Geopark not only has a new project coordinator, but it is also widening its geographic boundary a little bit.

The effort to establish communities along the Parrsboro Shore as a UNESCO Global Geopark, to increase international tourism, will now include the community of Bass River, according to Marlee Leslie, recently hired as project coordinator.

“It was proposed to include Bass River because of its history in mining, timbering, the Dominion Chair factory, and things like that,” Leslie explained. “It’s been embraced very strongly by the community, and it was suggested, to truly include Bass River, that it should extend to the Portapique River.”

A recent community meeting in Bass River was well attended by about 25 people, many representing groups or businesses such as the Dominion Chair store, the local ATV clubs, and the veterans’ park.

At the geopark project’s last board meeting, the proposed extension was unanimously approved. The boundaries now stretch from Apple River to Portapique River, rather than the previous eastern boundary of Economy Point.

Meanwhile, work continues to move forward, as Leslie has been busy working on outreach, community updates, and social media. Most recently, she presented the project to the Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium in Truro last weekend.

A Global Geopark is a designation that attracts international tourists wishing to explore the connections between globally significant geological sites, local communities, cultures and natural ecology.

While the UNESCO application is a long process with a couple more years head yet, she said a lot will happen this year.

“The draft application is ready and being processed, and will be sent off sometime soon,” said Leslie. “It will go to the Canadian national committee, and then they will come here and take a look around. Once it is vetted by them, it will go off the UN.”

Having grown up in Economy, Leslie attended Mount Allison University and the University of Victoria, and just moved back after three years in British Columbia. After seven years of university, she said she wanted to stay and build a life here.

“It’s difficult for a young person,” she said. “But I think this is a really good opportunity to expand our shoreline a bit and make it a more livable place.”

She has an office at Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro, and has enjoyed her first month at the position.

“I think we’ve been waiting along the shore for a niche, something to kind of focus our tourism efforts. I think this is a really great one.”

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