The amazing location of Les Gets in the heart of the Alps has led to the area around it being designated as a UNESCO Geopark, and the signs of this designation can be sen all around in the tree lined slopes and the surrounding mountains.
What Are Geoparks?
Geoparks are areas of geographical and geological significance. UNESCO began working with Geoparks in 2001. In 2004 representatives of seventeen European and eight Chinese Geoparks met in Paris in order to form the Global Geoparks Network. Today there are one hundred and nineteen Geoparks in thirty three different countries. In November 2015, the one hundred and ninety five member states of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label - The UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Geopark Du Chablais
The UNESCO label recognises areas of worldwide geological importance. The Geopark Du Chablais certainly meets these criteria. It extends from the southern tip of Lake Geneva all the way to the highest peaks of the Portes Du Soleil area. The story begins two hundred and fifty million years ago, when an Alpine ocean extended for hundreds of kilometres. Over millions of years the glaciers then carved out the mountains that we see around us today.More recently, the story is about how man came to the area and over the years learnt to work with the environment, rather than simply to control it so that man could live in harmony with the mountain environment surrounding him. There are twenty three sites to visit, from the edge of the lake in Thonon all the way to the peaks of Avoriaz.
The mission of the Geopark Du Chablais has a number of aims, based on developing the cooperation between the Geopark and the towns in the area. These aims include:
A commitment to the earth sciences in the area.
Participating in promoting and identifying cultural heritage
Education - awareness, training of tourism professionals and helping to set up and participate in events that promote cultural heritage. The Geopark is not a museum, it is a dynamic area where people can participate and contribute.
Promoting Geotourism by developing new site and promoting existing sites with guided walks and hikes and outings for schools.
Cooperation with other Geoparks throughout the world.
Sustainable development through working with partners and with scientific organisations who can help promote the area and spread understanding of the aims of the organisation.