In 2018, Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark Society received a $148,788 grant from Northern Development through the Economic Diversification Infrastructure program towards this $392,566 project. This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development and Province of British Columbia
Located in the heart of pristine wilderness, the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark (TRGG) rests on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
This 7,722-square-kilometre geopark offers activities for people of all ages year round. From hiking on beautifully maintained trails to snowmobiling, fly fishing and explorations at the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery.
In 2014, the TRGG was designated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a UNESCO Global Geopark. There are currently only two other UNESCO designated global geoparks in Canada and a total of five in North America.
“With this designation, the TRGG and the community of Tumbler Ridge have an opportunity to develop and promote a significant asset that is expected to attract increased tourism from domestic and international markets,” said Sarah Waters, executive director of TRGG. “Not only for Tumbler Ridge, but for the entire Peace Region.”
In order to maintain its UNESCO designation, TRGG was required to develop tourism products and educational programming. From that directive, the idea for the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark Interpretive Centre was born.
To assist in the creation of this interpretive centre, TRGG submitted a grant application through Northern Development’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure program. This program provides grant funding to support major infrastructure projects to strengthen the local economy.
At total of $148,788 was approved to build the centre and for the refurbishment of a caboose rail car that will provide additional interactive information to visitors. Fortunately, the District of Tumbler Ridge owned a vacant space in town and partnered with TRGG to construct the interpretive centre, with indoor and outdoor media to showcase the assets of the TRGG and the area.
This facility, which will be located in the centre of downtown Tumbler Ridge, will offer interactive opportunities to learn about geopark technology and industries. Additional assets include a gift store and coffee shop.
“The interpretive centre will create meaningful visitor experiences, draw visitors to the downtown core, and provide new opportunities to access tourism businesses,” added Waters. “Increased information and experiences will increase length of visitor stays and the revenues both direct and indirect associated with that.”
As the TRGG continues to build on its tourism and scientific programs, the influx of visitors, researchers and experience seekers are going to create direct and indirect long-term employment. In addition, by enhancing regional infrastructure, the community is providing improved quality of life which assists with retention of professionals as well as providing healthy outdoor spaces for families to enjoy.