Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark
Our Global Geopark has the capacity to transform the future prosperity of Tumbler Ridge. Economic diversification through tourism has been identified by Council as a top priority, hence the development of the new Visitor Centre. The September 2014 Global Geopark designation could therefore not have come at a better time, with our community languishing due to the temporary closure of its coal mines.
However, an attractive, marketable product needs to be developed before aggressive marketing is appropriate. The Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, dinosaur footprint tours and educational activities are excellent stand-alone items, but the 50-plus accessible geosites require trailside and website interpretation before they truly become worthy Global Geopark features.
This challenge, of converting a concept into a marketable reality, is being addressed by the Geopark Board of Directors and its scientific advisors. There are just under a hundred signage and brochure projects. Already 120 signs have been produced, which now need to be installed on the trails and at the geosites. This is a herculean task, and welcome help has been forthcoming from many sources.
Most recently the TRSS Geopark Club, during an outing to Nesbitt’s Knee Falls and the newly discovered Foehn Wall geosite nearby, assisted with installation of interpretive signage.
Braidan Chalifoux, Kelly Fry and Caleb Gale put their practical skills to work in erecting six signs along the trail, then enjoyed learning about the geology and scenery at the falls. This was followed by hiking the proposed trail around the rock cliffs at Foehn Wall. By afternoon’s end there was a solid offer of returning as volunteers to assist Craig Waters and his team in developing this new geosite and trail attraction, which will also become a climbing destination.
The experience for visitors to Tumbler Ridge needs to be profound – there has to be an awareness once stepping onto these trails to geosites that they are somewhere unique and special, worthy of the “Global” epithet. One geosite at a time, one sign at a time, this dream is turning into reality.