Percé Geopark in Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula Becomes First UNESCO Global Geopark in the Province

STORY BY Megan Hughes 23rd April 2018

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Percé Geopark have this week announced that the Geopark has received the prestigious designation of ‘UNESCO Global Geopark’.

This designation recognises sites across the world with a geological heritage of outstanding international importance and was achieved following an official request submitted by the Gaspé Peninsula group in 2016. It makes the Percé Geopark the first UNESCO Global Geopark in the province of Quebec and the third in Canada.

The Percé UNESCO Global Geopark is situated on the eastern edge of the Gaspé Peninsula in eastern Quebec and is famous for Percé Rock, a sheer rock formation in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and one of the world’s largest arches over water. Percé – located in the heart of the orogenic Appalachian mountain range which contains the Atlantic Watershed of the North American continent – witnessed the beginning of geology in Canada since it was in this region that Sir William Logan, the first Director of the Geological Commission of Canada, began the geological mapping of the country.

Image Credits: Christian Savard

This area of Quebec has strong historical and geological roots with its long maritime history, extensive network of hiking trails and abundance of significant geological sites such as Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island. The mission of the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark is therefore to protect its landscapes while educating visitors on sustainability and raising awareness about the environment, and last summer the Geopark unveiled a new suspended glass platform offering views of Percé Rock.

Located on the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq people, the region has a rich cultural heritage and the Percé business community is also closely involved in its Geopark through a cooperative venture as well as many local artists and craftspeople who actively contribute to the region’s vitality.

Image Credits: Christian Savard

Christina Cameron, President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO said, “We are proud to welcome a new member to our Canadian network which already includes two UNESCO Global Geoparks:  Stonehammer in New Brunswick, and Tumbler Ridge in British Columbia.

As spectacular reminders of the diversity of our natural heritage, geoparks play a key role in preserving, showcasing and sustainably developing regions with a unique geological character. Through their educational mission, geoparks transmit knowledge about geological history and the heritage of the territory in question for generations to come.”

Meanwhile, Renaud Camirand, Executive Director of Percé Geopark said, “The Percé Geopark organisation is honoured to receive this designation and be included in the extensive UNESCO Global Geopark Network. We welcome this news with a renewed determination to ensure that the entire community benefits from the geopark designation. We now hope to develop our educational programmes further and encourage local, sustainable development.”

Audley Travel ( / 01993 838700) offers a ‘Quebec’s Grand Gaspésie self-drive’ package from £1,940pp. The 11-day road trip stops in Quebec City, Carleton, Percé, Gaspésie National Park and Le Bic passing by 14 historic lighthouses, through four national parks, staying in small maritime communities that dot the peninsula with some of Canada’s most spectacular seascapes as the backdrop. Further highlights include a whale watching trip, a visit to the scenic Bonaventure Island and exploring Quebec City, North America’s only walled city, on a walking tour. Price includes international flights from a choice of airports including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow and is based on departures between April and November 2018.

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Featured Image Credits : Audley Travel

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