Pedra Branca (White Stone) Canyon


What is a Geopark?

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:

Strong community involvement

Commitment of the government

Collaboration of local entrepreneurs

What are benefits to the territory?

  • CONSERVATION of the geological heritage;
  • EDUCATION for sustainability;
  • Appreciation of the CULTURAL HERITAGE;
  • Integrated development of TOURISM;
  • Generation of EMPLOYMENT and INCOME for the local population;
  • VISIBILITY and PROMOTION of the region;


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.

UNESCO Global Geopark

Successful international initiative that emerged in the early 21st century and culminated in 2015 with the creation of a new title, the UNESCO Global Geopark.

It reinforces the importance of promoting conservation combined with sustainable economic development of sites and landscapes that record key aspects and stages in the geological history of the Earth, our geological heritage!

UNESCO Global Geoparks work closely with the Global Geoparks Network, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that contributes to the exchange of experiences and cooperation among its members.

Collaboration and networking are important components for both aspiring and UNESCO Global Geoparks. The Global Geoparks Network also promotes cooperation in regional networks, especially the Global Geoparks Network of UNESCO for Latin America and the Caribbean (Red GeoLAC).

Em 2022 os Geoparques Mundiais da UNESCO atingiram 177 membros, distribuídos em 46 países. Deste total, 10 estão localizados na América Latina,  No Brasil encontram-se chancelados 03 Geoparques Mundiais da UNESCO: Araripe (CE) , Caminhos dos Cânions do Sul (RS/SC) e Seridó (RN).

Distribution map of UNESCO Global Geoparks.

Adapted. Click to enlarge.

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