Paper No. 110-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
CONNECTING GEOHERITAGE SITES HAVING COMMON ASSETS: LINKS BETWEEN PETRIFIED FORESTS IN COLORADO, PERU, AND THAILAND
The concept of geoheritage encompasses particular geologic sites as well as broader geologic assets and globally relevant themes. Sharing ideas between sites having common themes is an important aspect to consider when developing geoheritage strategies. Such cooperation enables conservation efforts, development of local economies, and education and outreach activities. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado features world-renowned petrified trees and shares its research and conservation expertise with other petrified forest sites in Peru and Thailand. All of these sites have aspired to achieve Geopark designations. The Monument engages in a “sister park” partnership with El Bosque Petrificado Piedra Chamana in Peru, which is enabled by an agreement between The Friends of the Florissant Fossil Beds and the comparable nonprofit organization in Peru. This interaction has provided a complete site inventory and ongoing paleontological research in Peru, as well as hosting participants from Peru to visit Florissant. The broader scope of these interactions is developing into multinational partnerships, and some of the common issues were shared during the Workshop on Petrified Wood Conservation in Thailand in August 2014. As a consequence, new concepts for networking are currently developing between sites in Colorado, Thailand, Peru, and Greece. Moving from one-to-one “sister park” relationships to broader, thematically-shared “family park” networks of sites with similar geoheritage assets and conservation concerns holds potential for sharing mutually beneficial ideas across international boundaries. The scope of such networks can extend beyond “sites with boundaries” to also include other institutions involved with geoheritage, research and conservation of petrified forests.