Title: Sustainable use of geoheritage sites and areas across geotrails in UNESCO Global Geoparks and of related elements at Messel Pit World Heritage Site, Germany

Marie-Luise Frey

Welterbe Grube Messel gGmbH, Germany

Event: GeoKarlsruhe 2021

Date: 2020

DOI: 10.48380/dggv-xt4c-cp59

The sustainable use of geological resources is a management task, demand and challenge. When the European Geoparks Network was founded in 2000, a new view fell on geosites, geotopes, former quarries as resource areas of rocks and energy provider. Their contribution to regional economic development during their active use has been enormous. Only few scientists identified unique scientific value for geosites or geotopes, e.g. for Messel Pit World Heritage Site, Hesse, Germany with the need for protection for and by the global community. Other scientists with far sightedness directed the view onto a new use: geotourism, education and sustainable development. Their initiative started the first geo-trails in territories called geoparks. Infrastructures were restored and directed into a new use. Not only one geo-trail was created. By the positive acceptance of the population the new infrastructure was now used for their weekend walk. Eyes were opened on the formation history of a landscape, cultural connections were identified. An amazing development followed during the last twenty years. Today UNESCO Global Geoparks have a set of trails serving a variety of topics. Their management involves different measures. Maintenance after creation, as well as up dating and marketing are challenging management tasks. A speciality is using infrastructure of former quarries as geotourism highlight for guided tours. Connecting them with visitor requirements leads to modern geotourism products. They finally result in new or larger economic income with sustainable results like new jobs, income and benefits by e.g. selling products of the region or geoproducts presented in this contribution.

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