Jean-Simon Pagés feels the rugged shoreline of the Bay of Fundy in Cumberland and Colchester counties is among the most beautiful things he’s ever seen.
Pagés of France and his counterpart Marie-Luise Frey of Germany recent spent several days in both counties validating the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark’s status as a UNESCO attraction.
“It’s a marvelous place,” Pagés said during a reception at the Parrsboro Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 1. “It’s a very blessed area among many others in the world and it’s not by chance there’s a geopark there. It’s a place that attracts people from all over the world, not only because of the high tides, but also because of the quietness of the environment. There’s something special there – where people can meet and live in a peaceful environment.”
Municipality of Cumberland Deputy Mayor Mark Joseph and District 9 Coun. Carrie Goodwin are shown with UNESCO Global Geoparks Network representatives Jean-Simon Pagés of France and Marie-Luise Frey of Germany during a reception in Parrsboro on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Darrell Cole – Municipality of Cumberland photo
Pagés said he was impressed with the holistic approach to the territory with the cliffs and the tides as well as the people living there.
Something that struck Frey was the openness and friendliness of the people across the region and the impressive scenery. She loved visiting Cape d’Or near Advocate Harbour.
“It was amazing to be there and the people there were so welcoming and so friendly,” she said. “It’s an amazing place.”
The Cliffs of Fundy, which stretches from Lower Truro in Colchester County to Apple River in Cumberland, was awarded official status as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2020.
As a UNESCO geopark, Cliffs of Fundy experiences a revalidation every four years in which representatives of the organization’s geopark committee visit and provide either a green card, which means all is well; a yellow card, which requires changes; or a red card, in which a geopark could lose its status.
Pagés and Frey will make a report to UNESCO within the next month and officials with the Cliffs of Fundy should get a report sometime in the early fall.
Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Geopark committee chair Carrie Goodwin, who is also the District 8 councillor with the Municipality of Cumberland, said the visit was very productive.
“They seemed to enjoy themselves and the Maritime hospitality. I think they liked seeing the relationship and the cohesion between Cumberland and Colchester and the support both municipalities have given this project as well as the support from ACOA and Tourism Nova Scotia.”
Goodwin said the Cliffs of Fundy provide a learning opportunity for people to understand more about how the area was formed during the breakup of the Pangea supercontinent more than 200 million years ago.
"’It was an opportunity to show off our best natural and cultural assets,” she said. “I believe we did very well, but we know there are areas to work on such as signage.”
Sacha Brake, director of the Cliff of Fundy geopark, said the tour was challenging, but rewarding. Preparing for the tour was like studying for the final exam or preparing for the big game.
“This job is a busy one with a lot of territory to cover with a 165-kilometre coastal drive,” she said. “There was a lot to cover and when you have visitors who’ve never been to the geopark before you want to show them the best of what’s to offer. It’s been a very positive experience.”
Brake said visitors to the province are recognizing the region’s significance as evidenced by the number of licence plates from outside Nova Scotia and the Maritimes. She said a lot of Nova Scotians are also learning of the significance of the Cliffs of Fundy and are coming out to see it for themselves, visiting the Fundy Discovery Centre near Truro, the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro and Cape d’Or.