People, Travel

Preliminary Studies on 2nd Potential Geopark

Preliminary Studies on 2nd Potential GeoparkPreliminary Studies on 2nd Potential Geopark

Extensive field studies and research on the location of Iran’s potential second geopark earmarked for Golestan Province will conclude by mid-July.

Qeshm Geopark in southern Iran is the Middle East’s first and only geopark.

“The geopark, a key component of a comprehensive plan to develop Golestan’s tourism sector, will be set up in cooperation with the private sector and Golestan University,” said Ebrahim Karimi, the head of the provincial office of Iran’ Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization, the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.

“The government is not expected to help fund the project, since the plan is to facilitate the private sector’s involvement in the scheme. About 1 billion rials ($28,500) have been allocated by the provincial ICHHTO to carry out the preliminary studies.”

The geopark’s boundaries could overlap with those of Golestan National Park. Situated in the highlands of the Caspian region and the steppes of Khorasan province of northern Iran, the park will probably become one of the largest and finest natural reserves of the country.

Covering 92,000 hectares, the area is a dry woodland ecosystem stretching alongside the ancient Silk Road. It is registered on UNESCO World Heritage List.

Diversity of climates, landscapes, dense forests, beautiful seacoasts, vast plains, ancient and historical places and various animal species make the province a rich natural reserve, the surveying of which is necessary for people’s further understanding and development of geotourism.

Iran’s only geopark in Qeshm Island gained entry into the coveted UNESCO Global Geoparks Network in 2006, but was dropped six years later due to the authorities’ failure to address the site’s problems, such as underdeveloped infrastructure and unenforced environmental regulations.

However, after addressing the site’s problems, GGN members will vote on whether to allow Qeshm Geopark to enter the network once more during the Seventh International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks on September 27-30 in the seaside resort of Torquay, England.