A new stone for the foundations of the geopark

A new stone for the foundations of the geopark

Le lac du Salagou et ses célèbres roches seront au cœur du futur géoparc Midi Libre – Tarroux Arnaud

Le Département a délibéré en faveur de deux conventions concernant les différents partenaires du projet, dont beaucoup sont situés dans le Cœur d’Hérault et le Lodévois/Larzac.

As part of the process of obtaining the Unesco "Global Geopark" label, which would highlight the exceptional geological wealth of Hérault, the assembly departmental voted at the end of April to establish two conventions concerning the famous park. More concretely, these will make it possible to better supervise the project and build an ever more solid file with a view to a possible application in the coming months (read opposite).

The first agreement concerns the Department and the "geopartners". Behind this name hide public establishments, such as intercommunities or tourist offices, and future "geomediators", who will ensure the animation of the geopark on the ground. This agreement aims to develop a partnership of trust but also to establish essential safeguards, such as the ban on the sale of minerals or the obligation to respect the sustainable development objectives promoted by the ;rsquo;Unesco. The second convention is aimed at the owners (mainly public) of the places where the signage will be installed allowing visitors to guide themselves and learn a little more about the mineralogical riches of our department.

540 million years of geological history

The "Géoparc Terres d’Hérault" project has been supported for several years now by the departmental council, as explained by Daniel Estournet, head of the West Hérault territorial service in charge of the unit dedicated to the Geopark: "Since 2015, Unesco  has awarded a "Global Geopark" label to sites presenting geological heritage outstanding. In Hérault, it was thanks to the initiative of the association "Demain la Terre" that the project saw the light of day. We indeed have minerals that allow us to trace 540 million years of continuous geological history, which is perhaps unique in the world! The Department has therefore embarked on the path of certification to highlight this wealth." 

A perimeter of 112 municipalities, mainly located in the Hérault valley, Clermontais, Lodévois and the Orb valley, has therefore been demarcated, which represents an area of ​​more than 2000 km2. Beyond obtaining the precious sesame, the objective for the Department is to contribute to the preservation of this natural heritage and to develop "geotourism" respectful of the environment. ;rsquo;environment. 

An application for the fall ?

In order to observe the progress of the project, a visit by the national committee of French geoparks is planned for June in Hérault. If the conditions prove to be met, the committee could submit the Hérault application to UNESCO in November. An evaluation visit by representatives of the international organization would then take place between May and August 2025 in the department, with a view to certification in 2026. To date, nine geoparks are recognized by Unesco in France.

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