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Discussion of a Keweenaw Geopark

Description

In the spring of 2011 discussion of an initiative for a Geopark focused on the western UP of Michigan and including the Keweenaw National Historic Park and possibly Isle Royale National Park has begun. The geological themes would be the Neoproterozoic Mid Continent Rift, Michigan Copper Deposits and Pleistocene/Holocene Glacial history and global change. The rift defines the Lake Superior basin and human cultural history in the region is closely tied to geological themes. The geological themes encompass the two national parks but extend throughout the Western UP. The heritage links are very numerous and relate to mining, immigration and industrial history. Educational use of geological themes is being developed and explored thoroughly by the MiTEP project through earth science teachers and the extensive use of field sites for teaching earth science principles.

Building a geopark association involves vast communication among potential partners and the making of a case for the Geopark through a proposal to UNESCO. We have explored this process through colleagues in Europe, where Geoparks have been developed in many countries. In North America, there so far is only one Geopark, in New Brunswick, and the US is currently not encouraging proposal submissions to UNESCO. Nonetheless, we anticipate US participation in the future and at GSA we seek a broader coalition of partners who might be interested in a Keweenaw Geopark.

Geopark website: http://www.geo.mtu.edu/~raman/Geopark