ZAGREB, 8 December 2020 – The Geopark Biokovo – Imotski Lakes project is a step closer to receiving the UNESCO Global Geopark label.
After the initiative, launched two years ago, was given the green light by the National Commission, documentation has now been sent to the UNESCO Council which closes an important chapter on the path to UNESCO recognition and protection.
Until UNESCO assessors arrive, organisers in Imotski and Makarska still need, among other things, to prepare a multi-year management plan, mark the sites, and conduct partner training.
The 431 km2 Geopark Biokovo – Imotski Lakes area covers the municipalities of Imotski, Proložac, Podbablje, Zmijavce, Lokvičići, Lovreć, Zagvozd, and Runovići with sights including the famous Red and Blue Lakes, Krcevac and Opacac springs, Zovnjaca cave as well as a number of lakes and rivers which are home to protected endemic species.
“UNESCO is a lure for tourists absolutely wherever that logo is. However, what we are especially working on together with the GeoPark Association is the marking of geological trails and sites. There will be some 13 trails in the whole area where all those who love nature, culture, geology will see the best that this area has,” says the director of the Imotski Tourist Board Luka Kolovrat.
Everyone involved in the project is confident there will be good news from Paris from the World Council for UNESCO Geoparks. A decision is expected within the next two years.
The aim of the ‘UNESCO World Geoparks’ label is to raise awareness of geodiversity and promote best practices of nature conservation, education, and tourism. A Geopark must contain a few geologically or geomorphologically important locations of interest to a wider community. These locations can be important by their scientific value, rarity, aesthetic or educational importance.
Geoparks do not only benefit from geologically interesting locations, but also from various ecological, archaeological, historical, and cultural notability. Geoparks are run by local communities that can recognise and wish to confirm their geological, historical, and cultural heritage, mostly through the idea of geotourism.
Papuk became the first area in Croatia to be awarded Geopark status back in 2015. The Vis Archipelago was officially given the UNESCO Global Geopark label in 2019.