A Geopark is an area with clearly defined boundaries, where sites and landscapes of international geological relevance, combined with other natural and cultural assets of the region, are integrated into territorial development strategies involving nature conservation, education (formal and informal) and the promotion of economic development, in particular through tourism.
With a bottom-up approach to partnership and participatory management, it aims to combine nature conservation with the principles of sustainable development involving the local communities.
By raising awareness to the importance of conserving and valuing the sites and landscapes which serves as a record of key aspects and stages in Earth's geological history (geological heritage) and the historical and cultural diversity of the people living there, geoparks contribute to a sense of pride of the region and strengthen the identification of people with this territory.
In order to create opportunities and improve the living conditions of the people that inhabit this region, a geopark must be based on the following principles:
The conception of a Geopark project between the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul began to be conceived in 2007. At the time, under the name Project Geopark Canyons of Brazil, the territory involved six municipalities of the region, three of Santa Catarina. and three from Rio Grande do Sul.
With the progress of the process in search of political-financial support and engagement of local managers, as early as 2009, the Geopark project was led by the institutional partnership between the Regional Development Secretariat (SDR / Araranguá) and the Association of Southern Santa Catarina Municipalities. (AMESC). At this time the territory of the Geopark project ends up being expanded to 19 municipalities in the region.
In the years that followed, several project presentation and clarification meetings were held in the region, training and events, follow-up of technical visits, as well as various newspaper and radio reports covering the actions that took place in the territory.
Between 2010 and 2011, studies were conducted to start the inventory of the geosites of the territory by the Geological Survey of Brazil (CPRM), through the Superintendency of Porto Alegre - RS.
The years passed and in 2014, as the project matured, the Geopark area was reduced to the current 7 municipalities, as a way of directing efforts towards a core area. As in 2015, the mayors signed a memorandum of understanding to form the Caminhos dos Cânions do Sul Intermunicipal Consortium.
In April 2017, the process progressed to the official establishment of the Caminhos dos Cânions do Sul Intermunicipal Public Consortium, as the managing institution of the Caminhos dos Cânions do Sul Geopark project formed by the 7 cities that make up the candidate territory.