The location of Chatel and the surrounding area has meant that it is perfect for the UNESCO Geopark Scheme, a project to recognise areas of geological significance.
The History Of Geoparks
The Global Geoparks Network was first formed in 1998. It became involved with UNESCO in 2001 and in 2004 seventeen European and eight Chinese Geoparks came together at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to officially form the GGN. Today there are one hundred and nineteen Geoparks in thirty three countries.
What Is A Geopark?
A Geopark is an area of recognised geological significance. They support ìGreen Tourismî and promote sustainable use of natural resources in their areas. They promote awareness of issues facing the planet within the context of their particular Geopark and warn of the dangers of natural disasters.
Geopark Du Chablais
The Geopark Du Chablais joined the GGN in 2012. It runs from the shores of lake Geneva to the mountain peaks of Avoriaz, covering nine hundred square kilometres and holding a population of one hundred and twenty five thousand people in sixty two municipalities. The history of the land and the history of the people who live there are intertwined, from the traditional Alpine architecture to the natural waters of Evian, the evidence of manís relationship with the area is all around. Before that story there was also an even older story, that of the formation of the Alps themselves, through the Alpine ocean and the glaciers.
Aims Of The Geopark
The Syndicat Intercommunal díAmenagement du Chablais is in charge of the management of the Geopark. Their aims include:
Preservation. Preserving the geological heritage of the area, as well as the cultural history of the area and scientific research to help understand the geology of the area better.
Education. Promoting understanding of the area, including the training of those working in the tourist industry, raising awareness through conferences and workshops and helping to set up events.
Geotourism: Promoting the twenty three Geosites in the area, guided tours and outings for schools.
Cooperation: Working with the other Geoparks to help spread understanding and awareness and to support one another.
Sustainability: Preserving the natural heritage as well as the Alpine traditions, working with local partners within the Geopark and woring with scientific organisations to help with research and promotion of the Geopark.