Participation in the UNESCO Global Geopark Network requires that all Geoparks be grassroots, community-driven initiatives that depend on local passion and a “sense-of-place”. A Geopark cannot be designated through a "top-down" process by Provincial or Federal governments. As such, the management structure of the Geopark must be representative of its local communities and populations.
In May of 2016, the proposed Temiskaming Rift Valley Geopark was accepted as an "Aspiring" Geopark by the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks (CNCG). Over the following two years, members of the two organizations that have been spearheading this initiative, RockWalk Park Inc. of Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, and Le Fossilarium Inc. of Notre-Dame-Du-Nord, Quebec, have been working together to develop the foundations for this project, and build broad-level community support.
In April of 2018, management of the project was formally turned over to a Steering Committee. As an interim measure, the Steering Committee is functioning as a sub-committee of RockWalk Park. The Steering Committee, however, is now tasked with making all management decisions necessary to carry the project forward, and operates at arm's length from RockWalk Park Inc. All members of the Steering Committee are unpaid volunteers. Funding for the Steering Committee's activities is still temporarily flowing through RockWalk Park, which holds status as a charitable organization and is able to issue tax receipts on behalf of Temiskaming Rift Valley Aspiring Geopark.
By the fall of 2018, the Steering Committee plans to incorporate with the government of Canada as a Not-For-Profit organization, to be known as "Temiskaming Rift Valley Geopark", whereupon it will become a separate legal entity. At that point the Steering Committee will officially become the Board of Directors of the new entity, and the executive offices of President, Vice-President and Treasurer will be selected or appointed from among its membership. The Board of Directors, once formed, will develop and adopt the organization's constitution and bylaws. Once incorporated, the Temiskaming Rift Valley Aspiring Geopark will be able to generate its own funds and enter into formal business arrangements with other organizations. Membership on the Board will remain largely with representation from partner organizations, and Board positions will continue to be unpaid volunteers.
The Steering Committee currently holds representation from its five founding partner organizations, which include:
- Le Fossilarium Inc.
- RockWalk Park Inc.
- Temiskaming Métis Community Council
- Hilliardton Marsh Research & Education Centre
- Tri-Town and District Chamber of Commerce
In addition, representation is pending from:
- Parc national d’Opémican
- Municipalité régionale de comté de Témiscamingue (MRTC)
To meet the faces of the committee, Click Here. Any individual or organization wishing to become a member of the Steering Committee (or future Board of Directors) should email Michael Werner, Steering Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within its first year, the Temiskaming Rift Valley Aspiring Geopark will seek funding to hire a full time General Manager to manage the administration and be the public face of the organization.