Geoheritage encompasses a broad range of topics, from the
preservation of geological sites, to maintenance of archival and
specimen collections, gathering and dissemination of data, legislation,
and geotourism. New Brunswick has a long history of geological
investigations that have considerably advanced our understanding of a
complicated geological past spanning one biUion years. Although the
province contains a number of classic geological sites, and many of the
first geological explorations in the country were conducted here, only
two of more than 1100 historic sites in the province are based on
geohistory. Fortunately, geoheritage resources are readily available in
New Brunswick, and many of the early geosites are still accessible.
Improving geoheritage in New Brunswick is, in part, the responsibility
of members of the local geoscience community, which knows it best.
Existing heritage systems, such as New Brunswick's Register of
Historic Places and the national Historic Places Initiative, provide the
means to ensure that geoheritage becomes part of society's
collective heritage awareness.
La notion de patrimoine geologique recouvre une gamme variee de
sujets d'interet, allant de la preservauon de sites geologiques, a
l'entretien de collections d'archives et d'echantillons,
a la collecte et a la dissemination de donnees, a la reglementation en
cerre matiere, et au geotourisme. La longue tradition de recherches
geologique du Nouveau-Brunswick ont permis d'ameliorer
substantiellement nos connaissances d'une l'histoire
geologique compliquee s'etendant sur un milliard d'annees.
Bien que la province compre de nombreux sites geologiques dassiques,
dont de nombreux sites des premieres recherches geologiques au pays,
seuls deux de ces sites sur plus de I 100 sites a valeur historique de
la province sont de nature geo-historique. Heureusement, au
Nouveau-Brunswick les ressources geologiques patrimoniales sont
facilement accessibles, et nombre des premiers sites geotogiques le sont
encore. L'amelioration de la situation du patrimoine geologique au
Nouveau-Brunswick est, pour une part, du ressort des membres de la
communaute geoscientifique locale, etant des experts en sciences de la
Terre. Les organismes patrimoniaux existants, comme le Repertoire des
lieux patrimoniaux, et l'Initiative des endroits historiques du
Nouveau-Brunswick sont des moyens de faire des questions de patrimoine
geologique des sujets de preoccupation de la societe.
New Brunswick has a rich and diverse geological past spanning
roughly one billion years, a significant history of scientific
investigation, and a physical record of archival documents and
specimens. Geoscientists contributed to New Brunswick society in many
ways, yet with over 1100 places listed on New Brunswick's Register
of Historic Places, only two are recognized for their geological
significance. Why are our geoscientists and geoscience history not a
more recognized component of heritage in New Brunswick? What can we do
to bring it to the forefront and what are the resources available? In
this paper I look at geosciences from the museum world, where the
'heritage industry' is a part of our everyday work. Unlike
most other geoscience professions, museum geoscientists have
responsibilities that include scientific research, preservation and
conservation, history, public educadon, and geotourism. Museums are
institutions where almost all aspects of geoheritage intersect.
Geoscience investigations in New Brunswick date back to the very
beginning of the study of Canada's geology. Abraham Gesner
(Barkhouse 1980) became the Provincia/Geologist in 1838, the first
person to hold such a position in the British Empire. He produced five
reports concerning the geology of the province, was elected a Fellow of
the Geological Society of London in 1840, and in 1842 guided Sir Charles
Lyell on a tour of sites in Nova Scotia (Miller and Buhay 2007a).
Gesner's Museum of Natural History opened in 1842, a week before
the founding of the Geological Survey of Canada, and was one of the
country's first public museums. His collection of rocks, minerals,
and fossils is perhaps the oldest reasonably intact geological
collection in Canada (Miller and Buhay 2007b). Today, Gesner's
successors in the Geological Surveys Branch of the province's
Department of Natural Resources continue the work begun by him, in
describing New Brunswick's geology. The Department of Geology at
the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton traces its history to the
work of James Robb (Bailey 1976) and Loring Bailey (Young 2005). Both
Robb and Bailey mapped the geology of the province and reported on its
mineral wealth. Charles Lyell may have even had a hand in the
establishment of the department (Miller and Buhay 2007a). In Saint John,
the Steinhammer Club and the Natural History Society of New Brunswick
(Miller and Buhay 1988) worked closely with Sir William Dawson, Loring
Bailey and staff from the Geological Survey of Canada to develop many of
the first detailed geological maps of the province and to investigate
fossil sites in southern New Brunswick. Geologists from the Geological
Survey of Canada explored the entire province to document its mineral
wealth and map the geology.
THE STATE OF GEOSCIENCE HERITAGE
What is the state of geoscience heritage in New Brunswick? The
answer is not simple. No single agency is responsible for geological
heritage in the province; rather, it is something that falls under
several mandates. Not surprisingly, those responsible for geology and
those whose mandate includes heritage are separate entities. The
Government of New Brunswick has a Department of Natural Resources whose
Geological Surveys and Minerals and Petroleum Development branches deal
primarily with geological mapping and mineral resources. The
province's Heritage Branch, within the Department of Wellness,
Culture and Sport, has focused primarily on 'built'
(architectural) heritage and archaeology. The Department of the
Environment has a responsibility for protected natural areas. The
Department of Tourism and Parks has influenced geoheritage by managing
some geological features, such as the 'Hopewell Rocks', as
tourism destinations (Fig. 1). The New Brunswick Museum maintains
collections of fossils, minerals and rocks from New Brunswick, and
specimens from other parts of the world that relate to the history of
the province. The Geological Survey of Canada, Parks Canada, the
University of New Brunswick and Mount Allison University have also had
an impact on geoheritage in New Brunswick.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Although all of these organizations incorporate aspects of
geological heritage into their work, it has been the Department of
Natural Resources and the New Brunswick Museum that have, until
recently, been most involved with the province's geological
heritage. That is starting to change, partly as a result of the drafting
of new heritage legislation and the recognition that fossils and
landscapes should be included as part of our provincial heritage, and
partly because of overlapping interests and synergies developed between
departments with differing mandates. In addition, the small size of New
Brunswick, geographically and politically, has much to do with the
convergence of a small group of people interested in geoheritage.
WHAT IS GEOHERITAGE?
Geoheritage is a relatively new term that has various definitions
(Donaldson 2008). The concept has even spawned a new journal
(Geoheritage) from Springer that includes, within the spectrum of
geoheritage, a range of topics including geodiversity, geosites,
geoparks, stratotype conservation and management, scientific research,
education, the promotion of the geosciences, materials, data, people
important in the history of science, museums, collections, and all
portable geoheritage. These many components of geoheritage enable a
holistic view of what makes up the heritage of the geological sciences.
Heritage can be defined as the passing on of knowledge to our
descendants, or as something acquired from a predecessor. In the case of
geoheritage the 'something' is knowledge of geology. But what
is meant by knowledge of geology? It could be seen as the sum of
geological information gathered over the years and published in
scientific literature. It includes the training of students, mentoring,
and public education. It is the accumulated data derived from geologic
investigation, the specimen record of geologic research, and
geodiversity (Gray 2004, 2008), including the outcrops and landscapes
that preserve geologic information. It is also the history of the
science of geology, including artifacts, built heritage and toponymy.
This is a very broad range of subject matter to include within the
geoheritage sphere, and it is not likely that any single system for
documenting and preserving geoscience heritage can exist. Much of this
role is assumed by university departments and government geological
surveys, whose primary focus is the accumulation, analysis, and
dissemination of geological knowledge. To make the subject more
manageable, this paper will look at a subset of geological heritage in
New Brunswick, and examine the resources available for recording the
history of geology, for conserving geological sites, and for preserving
documents, specimens, the history of geology, and associated artifacts
and built heritage.
OUR HERITAGE RESOURCES
How well do we do as geoscientists in New Brunswick in preserving
our geological heritage? What resources are available for understanding
our geoheritage? Where do we stand in documenting our history; in
conserving and preserving our geosites, documents, specimens, artifacts,
and built heritage; and in advancing legislation to support these
Recording Our History
Geoscientists excel at writing histories of geology, both for
professional and lay audiences. This writer's bookshelf is a small
sampling of this: The Meaning of Fossils by Martin Rudwick; Wonderful
Lafe by Stephen Gould; The Role of Women in the History of Geology
edited by Cynthia Burek and Bettie Higgs; Discovering Fossil Fishes by
John Maisey; Charming the Bones by Ann Elliot; and The Map that Changed
the World by Simon Winchester. There is no shortage of resources, and
there are still great stories to tell. Recounting stories of past
geologists and their discoveries is something that our profession has
taken on with enthusiasm. Our profession understands that the effort
demands a detailed understanding of prior work and the people involved;
the collected works published by the GAC as Proud Heritage: People and
Progress in Early Canadian Geoscience is proof of that (McQueen 2004).
Stories abound, but compiling the details and writing them down has
been the task of relatively few in our profession. I remember that, as
an undergraduate student, the early history of geology in Canada that
this writer was taught centred on Sir William Logan, Sir William Dawson,
and few others. Our history is only as good as the research and
publications that document it, and our ability to disseminate that
information. Fortunately, the last few decades have seen an increase in
the research and documentation of New Brunswick stories, and as a result
we now have a much richer and more accurate published history of geology
in New Brunswick. New Brunswick has many great stories of people such as
Loring Bailey (Young 2005), Robert Chalmers (Brookes 2008), Robert
Foulis (Wright and Miller 1990), Abraham Gesner (Matthew 1897; Barkhouse
1980; Mitcham 1995; Brice 2002; Miller and Buhay 2007b), Fred Hartt
(Matthew 1890; Brice 1994), George Matthew (Cassidy 1987; Miller 2003,
2005), William Matthew (Colbert 1992; Miller 1994), and James Robb
(Bailey 1976), to name a few of the better known 19th century geologists
(Fig. 2). Recent publications have assembled a broader view of the
province's geoscience history as expressed by past mineral
exploration, mining and quarrying activities (Martin 1990, 2003).
Primary and secondary sources of geological information exist in
New Brunswick's archives and libraries. The Provincial Archives,
the archives of the New Brunswick Museum, and the University of New
Brunswick are principal sources of primary documents such as letters,
field notebooks and maps. This is just a small part of the relevant
archival material scattered in many institutions across North America
and Europe. For example, correspondence from the Natural History Society
of New Brunswick can be found at the National Archives of Canada, the
Boston Museum of Science, and the Natural History Museum, London, to
name a few. The University of New Brunswick, Mount Allison University,
the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and the New Brunswick
Museum all have geological libraries. Most, like the New Brunswick
Museum Archives and Research Library (Fig. 3) have a history dating back
to the beginning of geological exploration in the province (Miller and
Buhay 2007c). However, there is a need for space in these institutions,
which has led to a weeding of older materials from collections, and even
the closure or downsizing of some geological libraries. The increasing
access to electronic resources sometimes threatens collections of older
works that are (in this writer's experience) sometimes viewed as
irrelevant. In our profession this is anything but true. Original
descriptions of fossils or outcrops made 100 years or more ago can prove
to be vital to current research. Furthermore, from the point of view of
geoheritage, these are crucial resources for unravelling the scientific
and cultural history of geology.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Locally focused books like Gesner's Dream (Martin 2003), and
more broadly based works such as William Diller Matthew: Paleontologist
(Colbert 1992) and Charles Doolittle Walcott (Yochelson 1998) rely on
primary and secondary documentation. All three authors drew upon
archival resources in the New Brunswick Museum to research their books.
If we do not preserve our own stories, who will?
[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]
Outcrops, particularly stratigraphic type sections, are the
'fundamental units' of geological mapping and for
understanding geology. Although we name the rock units according to
international rules, there is little done to maintain the key sites and
sections afterwards. Preservation and conservation of all type sections
may be an impossible task; sections come and go as geological
relationships are reworked. However, some stratotypes are more
significant than others, and may possess a greater longevity than
others. Even dismissed stratotypes may have significance as a subject of
continued research. In New Brunswick, there is no system for protection
of type sections. The New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources has
put the provincial bedrock lexicon online, which does make the
information more timely and accessible. Although the current Historic
Sites Protection Act could be used to recognize and protect geological
sites, it has not yet been applied for this purpose.
Specimens and Artifacts
Specimens are a significant heritage resource, and various systems
exist for their preservation. Probably the most regulated systems are
those that apply to palaeontology and mineralogy, with their tradition
of depositing primary and secondary type specimens in museum collections
(Fig. 4). Even here, of course, the system has some problems, because
not every type specimen makes its way to a permanent collection. Some
collections, most notably those at the national and provincial museum
level, have strict protocols for accession, and equally important,
deaccession, of specimens. University and private collections are more
likely to last only as long as the custodian of the collection. For
example, the Mount Allison University geology collection was dispersed
following the phasing out of the department in the late 1990s. Private
collections are often offered to our museum as they outgrow an
individual's ability to maintain them. On the other hand, the New
Brunswick Museum Act and museum policies ensure the longevity of
collections; hence, museums employ curators whose job it is to develop
and maintain these collections. In New Brunswick, we have made an effort
to rebuild the geological component of the provincial museum. The
museum's history can be traced to Gesner's Museum (Miller and
Buhay 2007b), which was primarily a geology museum and one of the first
museums in Canada open to the public. Although the provincial museum has
the mandate to be the provincial repository for natural science
specimens collected in New Brunswick, not all specimens are sent to the
museum, nor does the museum have the resources to keep everything.
Priorities are aimed at maintaining all type specimens, and specimens of
lasting research value.
The International Council of Museums [http://icom.museum/] defines
a museum as a "permanent institution in the service of society and
of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves,
researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible
heritage of humanity and its environment, for the purposes of education,
study, and enjoyment". The word museum is often used to refer to
interpretation centres that are not involved in acquisition,
conservation and research, but which instead focus on communicating and
exhibiting. I would argue that museums are in a good position to
maintain and promote geological heritage, in part because they are in
the 'heritage business', as well having roles in public
education and tourism. Most university and industry geoscientists
probably do not have a heritage component to their job, nor do they, as
their colleagues in museums do, have a direct tie to heritage
departments of government.
[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]
In New Brunswick, the museum has tried to maintain an active role
in geoheritage and developing regional expertise. On more than one
occasion I have been asked by a geoscientist from a larger institution,
"Do I not think we would be better served by concentrating
collections in larger centres?" The discussion often concerns type
specimens, and the argument is valid; larger institutions might be
better able to care for specimens, although there are examples in which
that is not true. The most compelling argument is that it would
facilitate research by having many specimens in one place, thus making
it easier and less expensive for researchers to view the material.
However, I contend that, at least ha New Brunswick's case, minerals
and fossils are a provincial responsibility, valued as heritage objects
that tell the story of our region. I would further argue that, if the
best specimens left the province, to be housed in a national or
international institution, we would be left with little to develop
regional expertise, employ our own geoscientists, and study regional
geology. What would we exhibit to museum visitors, or use to inspire a
new generation of scientists? To retain such material, a museum must
behave like one, maintaining standards of collection, care and research.
Strong regional museums employ more geoscientists across Canada than our
single national natural history museum.
[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]
Electronic compilations of heritage information, such as virtual
exhibitions and museum catalogues accessible via the internet, are
becoming more common. Museum catalogues are accessible via the internet,
and virtual exhibitions are becoming more common [www.nbm-mnb.ca]. In
New Brunswick, the Department of Natural Resources has developed a
tremendous resource for geoscience heritage by putting the bedrock
lexicon online and creating other databases, including searchable
databases concerning Mineral History, Fossils, Mineral Occurrences and
Publications. The Mineral History Database, derived largely from
transcribed newspaper records going back to the late 1700s, is a great
example of how information can be made accessible
[http://www.gnb.ca/0078/minerals/da tabases-e.aspx]. For anyone
interested in the history of geology in New Brunswick, this is an
invaluable resource. Previously, researchers were required to search
through metres of microfilm, an impediment to research for many of us.
In New Brunswick, legislation concerning geological matters is
primarily dealt with by the Mining Act, which defines and regulates
mining in the province, similar to other jurisdictions in Canada.
Minerals and fossils are both discussed in the act, but the focus is
understandably on minerals as a resource. Proposed changes to the
current heritage legislation would bring the protection of fossils and
fossil sites under the heritage umbrella; this will be achieved by a new
Heritage Conservation Act that was introduced in the Legislature in
November 2009. Protection of landscapes as heritage sites is also under
consideration as changes are made to heritage legislation. For
geoheritage, this means that unique glacial landscapes or areas of karst
topography could be protected as representative of our geological
heritage. Legislation regarding toponymy (place names) is also likely to
be part of revised legislation. For those questioning the importance of
place names to geoheritage, the reader might recall the fiasco over the
renaming of Mt. Logan. An example of preserving geoheritage in place
names from New Brunswick would be the 'Geologists' Range'
(Fig. 5). The naming of this series of low mountain peaks in northern
New Brunswick was proposed by William Ganong on December 5th, 1899 to
recognize the contribution to the province made by 194 century
geologists (Ganong 1899, 1903). Other pieces of legislation pertain to
geoheritage, at least peripherally, includes the Highway Act, the
Bituminous Shale Act, the New Brunswick Museum Act, the Protected
Natural Areas Act, the Clean Water Act and the Quarriable Substances
Act. Finding ways to deal with geoheritage through legislation becomes
complicated, and extends well beyond areas familiar to most
GETTING INTO THE HERITAGE SYSTEM
If the resources are available to explore and develop the rich
geoscience heritage information within a given jurisdiction, how can
this important part of our society's heritage be preserved and
promoted? This writer's experience is that the general public does
not consider geoscience to be part of our collective heritage; it is not
thought of as part of our history in the same manner as shipbuilding or
politics, partly, of course, because most people are unfamiliar with the
science of geology. Frameworks to recognize and conserve heritage are
already in place in New Brunswick, which has a list of historic places
that includes more than 1100 sites. However, only two of these are
assigned to the list on the basis of their geological significance. The
current heritage legislation does not deal with geology except that in
the Historic Sites Protection Act, a place might be nominated as an
historic site because of its geologic features. The Albert Mines site in
Albert County [https: //www.rhp-rlp.gnb.ca/] is described as a 324
hectare defunct mine site, with outcrops of albertite, visible ruins
including mine-shafts (Fig. 6), tailings piles, manager's house and
a church. Nevertheless, its significant fossil record of Mississippian
palaeoniscid fish was not included in its heritage description. The
second geological feature on the New Brunswick list is 'Glacier
Rock', a large erratic in a park in McAdam.
New Brunswick participates in a federal government program called
the Historic Places Initiative (HPI)
[http://www.pc.gc.ca/docs/pc/rpts/rv e-par/21/index_e.asp]. The
Government of Canada launched the HPI in 2001 to set out a national
strategy for providing the tools that Canadians need to participate in
conserving and celebrating historic places "to improve the state of
conservation in Canada and increase Canadians' access to, and
understanding of, their heritage by actively engaging them in its
preservation." Nationally, only one site on the list is recognized
for its fossil content. In New Brunswick, our museum staff, working with
the province's Heritage Branch, has recently documented twelve
sites that combine a significant fossil record and a history of
scientific study, as a contribution to New Brunswick's Register of
Historic Places and ultimately the national HPI. The intent is to use
the existing heritage framework to encompass geoscience heritage. It
seems like a simple solution for the promotion of geoscience heritage,
yet with over 1100 provincial listings and more than 9800 national
heritage sites, only a handful are recognized as important for
geoscientific reasons. This may simply be because there is no
organization promoting geoheritage sites to the HPI. Nominations, and
the research needed to document the significance of a given site, must
come from the geoscience community. Perhaps our national Canadian
Federation of Earth Sciences might be an appropriate lobby group for the
profession, although compiling site information is probably a grassroots
effort. Documentation must follow strict guidelines that include a
statement of significance, geographic boundaries, and a list of
"character-defining elements" that clearly identify what
aspects of the site make it significant.
[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]
GEOHERITAGE OPPORTUNITIES IN NEW BRUNSWICK
Many opportunities exist for the development of geoheritage in both
professional and public areas. Within our profession, maintaining
support for institutions that preserve geoheritage (museums and
archives) is critical, as is support for geoheritage research itself,
because the long-term care of physical evidence encourages both
geological research and public awareness of geology. Although we are not
historians, as a profession we are reasonably adept at delving into the
history of geology. Geology is a demanding discipline that has its own
arcane language, and unlike many other fields, the concept of geologic
time makes it difficult for outsiders to grasp. Therefore, public
presentation of geoheritage depends on quality research.
In the public realm, we have had some success in making people
aware of the importance of geology. Much of that has to do with
informing society about natural hazards and the importance of mining to
our lifestyle. We could perhaps do more to integrate the study of
geology into the social and educational fabric, in addition to showing
how it serves society. In New Brunswick we celebrate shipbuilding as a
great achievement of our citizens and recognize the people and places
that are part of that history. While achievements in geology are
recognized, it does not have the same cachet as the 'Golden Age of
Sail'. However, there was a time when geoscience activity was seen
as part of the intellectual and social community. On Friday, October 7,
1921, George Matthew was invited to a banquet held in his honour at the
Union Club in Saint John. George Matthew, a customs agent, was leaving
New Brunswick after a lifetime of service. The banquet attracted a
Who's Who of New Brunswick society; in attendance were Mayor
Schofield of Saint John, The Honourable Walter Foster, Premier of New
Brunswick and The Honourable William Pugsley, Lieutenant Governor of New
Brunswick. They, and many others, were not there to honour George
Matthew the customs agent, but rather to recognize Dr. Matthew's
achievements in science (Cassidy 1987), and his extraordinary career
spanning six decades of geological exploration and research with the
Natural History Society of New Brunswick. The newspaper reported the
banquet as a "splendid testimonial ... given by a representative
gathering of men, distinguished in intellectual and business spheres of
the province" (Daily Telegraph, Saturday, 8 October, 1921, p, 5).
My experience in Saint John suggests that few people outside the
specialist community of geoscientists know about the geological work
that was conducted here. Since 1921, when Matthew was honoured by his
peers for the attention he had brought to the city and province, the
awareness of that aspect of the community has all but disappeared.
Popular history has focused on Saint John being Canada's oldest
incorporated city, and on the city's heritage buildings, labour
history, and shipbuilding history.
[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]
There are means to change the perception of geology, and there is
ample opportunity for improved geological interpretation of existing
tourism attractions. Top tourist attractions like the Hopewell Rocks,
the Reversing Falls, Sugarloaf Mountain (Fig. 7), and the Bay of Fundy
are all geological features. Unfortunately, all could benefit from
additional efforts to explain their geological significance. Of all
these sites, interpretive information at the Hopewell Rocks offers the
best explanation for a specific geological feature. Mining tourism is a
small but developing niche market, and old mine sites could be developed
to explain our industrial heritage. This province also had a thriving
building-stone industry during the 1800s to mid-1900s; many of the
buildings in Saint John (Fig. 8), Fredericton, Miramichi and elsewhere
(e.g. New York City) are constructed from local stone (Martin 1990;
Miller and Hughes 2009). With adequate protection in place, fossil sites
could be promoted as part of our geoheritage. New Brunswick's rich
fossil history includes the first Precambrian fossil to be described in
the scientific literature (Miller 2003), the Pennsylvanian 'Fern
Ledges' (the site of a heated debate over the age of the rocks;
Falcon-Lang and Miller 2007), and classic Devonian plant, vertebrate,
and invertebrate localities along Chaleur Bay/Baie des Chaleurs (Clarke
1909; Gensel and Andrews 1984; Miller et al. 2003; Miller 2007). A
Maritimes geotourism product could be just around the corner. Nova
Scotia is now home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Joggins, and
nearby at Parrsboro is the site of the oldest dinosaurs in Canada. The
UNESCO World Heritage Site at Miguasha, Quebec is a short distance from
additional interesting geological sites at Dalhousie and Campbellton in
northern New Brunswick.
CASE STUDY: GEOPARK PROJECT
Geotourism, based on the observation and understanding of geology,
is a growing part of the tourism market (Dowling and Newsome 2006).
While geotourism is not new, the recent development of the European
Geoparks Network and the UNESCO-sponsored Global Geoparks Network are
providing models for engaging the public that link sustainable economic
development with the preservation, interpretation, and appreciation of
geology. We think of geotourism destinations as sites with spectacular
landscapes and obvious interpretive and geological impact, but there are
other opportunities to incorporate less obvious geological stories into
the realms of tourism and public education. In the Saint John region, a
community group has been exploring the development of a geopark that
would incorporate a billion years of the geologic record and more than
170 years of geoscience study (Miller 2008a, b). In November 2009, an
application was submitted to UNESCO and the Global Geoparks Network in a
bid to create the 'Stonehammer Geopark' in southern New
Brunswick. Interest has come, in part, from the tourism industry, which
seeks to enhance a product that includes exploitation of cultural and
natural attractions in a market that strives to provide unique,
value-added experiences for visitors (Fig. 9). In Saint John, boat tours
of the Reversing Fails have added the geological story of the gorge to
their traditional interpretation of the tides. Kayak tour guides are
seeking information about geology to enhance their stories of the
natural and cultural landscape. Trail designers are looking for
information to develop interpretive signs along walkways (Fig. 10). Tour
operators working the cruise-ship market have considered tours of
geological sites for ship passengers. Saint John offers the geology, but
perhaps more important it offers the history of science and exploration.
Few cities can compare to the Saint John region in terms of the
geological complexity and diversity seen here. Neither can most cities
claim such a long history of geoscience investigation, dating back more
than 170 years to the work of Abraham Gesner. Professional geoscientists
continue to visit the area on field trips or while engaged in current
research, continuing a tradition of exploration that includes such
notable geologists as Sir Charles Lyell and Charles Walcott.
The Saint John region has a long and significant history of
geological exploration; coastlines, parks and public lands where the
geological story of the region can still be seen in rock outcrops; and a
tourism industry already engaged in geotourism. A geopark would tie
together dozens of sites to introduce visitors to almost a billion years
of earth history, allowing them to follow the history of geoscience
thought from the early 1800s to today. All of this, however, depends on
the geoscience community's ability to translate a relatively hidden
past into a vibrant part of our social history that can be readily
appreciated by the public. Ultimately, presenting geoheritage as an
interesting and significant part of our heritage relies on the resources
required to research, document, promote and protect it.
[FIGURE 8 OMITTED]
[FIGURE 9 OMITTED]
GEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
Eileen van der Flier-Keller
Communications: Tim Corkery
Finance: Michel Champagne
Publications: Keith Dewing
Science Program: Don James
The author thanks Reg Wilson for suggesting a series of papers
following the Geoheritage Symposium at the 2008 GAC-MAC conference in
Quebec City and for his work to improve this manuscript. Thanks also to
Al Donaldson, the series editor, for his patience and assistance. Thanks
to Les Fyffe and the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources for
their financial support to attend the conference. RFM gratefully
acknowledges receipt of a SSHRC-CURA grant (833-2003-1015) and the
support of the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund.
[FIGURE 10 OMITTED]
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Randall F. Miller
Steinhammer Palaeontology Laboratory
Department of Natural Science, New Brunswick Museum
Saint John, NB, Canada, E2K 1E5