DBPapers
DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2014/B52/S20.008

ASPIRING GEOPARK RIO COCO (NICARAGUA)

M. Paskova, P. Hradecky
Wednesday 1 October 2014 by Libadmin2014

References: 14th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2014, www.sgem.org, SGEM2014 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-18-6 / ISSN 1314-2704, June 19-25, 2014, Book 5, Vol. 2, 53-60 pp

ABSTRACT
The contribution deals with the preparation of Rio Coco Geopark which runs already more than decade. The area is located in Northwest Nicaragua close to the Honduras border and it includes except of extraordinary geological and geomorphologic phenomena also archaeological and other landscape heritage with a high potential for sustainable tourism. This geological and other natural heritage as well as local indigenous culture is described as a fundamental capital of the geopark aspiring to the Global Geopark Network assisted by UNESCO. It focuses on the role of local people in the geotourism management and nterpretation. The unique geological phenomenon lies in the center of the area; it is deep gorge where Río Coco cuts the Tertiary ignimbrites. Until 2004, this unique geosite was known and visited only by local people. In March 2004, Czech geologists discovered it for the rest of the world as they carried out their terrain research there. This fieldwork has been done in the frame of a Czech Foreign Assistance Programme supported by the Czech Ministry of the Environment and undertaken by the Czech Geological Survey in cooperation with Nicaraguan Institute of the Territorial Studies. During the last decade, the area of the canyon and its surroundings has become well known to local and foreign visitors. The popularity of the area is contributing to the economic development of the Rio Coco region but it must be managed in sustainable way. For this reason, the local and central government authorities, together with specialists from Ministry of Environment of Czech Republic and Czech Geological Survey have collaborated on the preparation of a application for Rio Coco Global Geopark. Authors presume that the quantitative and qualitative level of involvement of the local and mainly indigenous people (Chorotega) with their traditional know-how, skills and life style will correlate positively with environmental, economic and social sustainability of this naturally and culturally distinctive region. It means that the creation of the UNESCO assisted geopark represents a great potential for protection of local natural and cultural heritage, for regional development based on geotourism, ecological agriculture, artistic handicrafts, local cuisine and before all for support of indigenous culture and identity in general.

Keywords: geopark, geological heritage, geotourism, Rio Coco, indigenous people