Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site yesterday. These cliffs contain the world’s most complete fossil record of life in the “Coal Age”, and are a beautiful place to visit. In fact, I just might take a drive up this weekend!
Here is the government news release:
Department of Natural Resources
July 7, 2008 7:32 PM
The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are a World Heritage Site.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee made the designation during the committee's 32nd session in Quebec City.
The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are the second World Heritage Site in Nova Scotia -- the Town of Lunenburg was the first. Joggins joins a select group of important fossil sites in Canada to achieve the designation, including Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, the Burgess Shale in British Columbia and Miguasha in Gaspe, Que.
"The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are one of Nova Scotia's, and the world's, great natural treasures," said Premier Rodney MacDonald. "The cliffs provide the best record in the world of the geological history of the coal age, and are truly a world-class heritage resource."
The designation recognizes the outstanding universal value of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, which preserve the most complete record in the world of terrestrial life in the Pennsylvanian Coal Age. The cliffs and their fossils, continually exposed in the Bay of Fundy by the world's highest tides, have long been a cornerstone in our understanding of the evolution of life and Earth's history.
"I am pleased and proud of the outstanding efforts of Dr. John Calder and others who demonstrate to the world the outstanding significance of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs," said Natural Resources Minister David Morse. "This recognition speaks to the dedicated work of provincial geoscientists and their colleagues in documenting the outstanding geological significance of the site."
The inscription of Joggins as a World Heritage Site will add significant value as a visitor destination. Opened in April, the environmentally and economically sustainable Joggins Fossil Centre, built with Nova Scotia materials, is already generating widespread interest as a destination for visitors from around the globe. A centre of this caliber highlights Nova Scotia's expertise in consultation, construction and design.
"The new centre is a world-class iconic attraction and experience that all visitors can enjoy," said Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Bill Dooks. "We are pleased to be able to protect and preserve this unique part of our natural heritage which is sure to attract new visitors to the province."
The World Heritage Committee has reviewed the nomination since it was submitted in February 2007. International Union for the Conservation of Nature experts visited the site for six days last fall as part of this review.
The inscription is the culmination of more than 10 years of work by members of the community and officials from the departments of Natural Resources and Tourism, Culture and Heritage to document and explain the outstanding universal value of the site. The nomination was based on three areas:
-- the fossil record, which includes some of the earliest terrestrial four-legged creatures, and both animal and plant remains from vast Coal-Age swamps, all preserved in their ecological context;
-- the "grand exposure", more than 15 kilometres of sea cliffs, that expose more than 25-million years of geological history;
-- the contributions that these cliffs have made to some of the great ideas of science, including the theory of evolution in Darwin's Origin of the Species.
The Joggins Fossil Centre was funded by the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The departments of Economic Development and Tourism, Culture and Heritage helped fund the UNESCO nomination process and will provide operational funding.