Cliffs of Fundy Geopark perfect t for Peterkin
For many people, geoparks are not just about pretty rock formations. They are about the history that comes with the area.
Beth Peterkin, manager of the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark, is one of those people.
She has lived in Parrsboro for four years and has spent lots of time at the sites in the development of the geopark.
Peterkin first heard about this position when she found the job listing.
“It was a really good fit with my previous work experience. So, I put an application in, and the rest is history.”
Peterkin started as the manager of the geopark in June, and the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark achieved its designation as a UNESCO Global Geopark on July 10.
The geopark has more than 40 geosites in a 165-kilometre drive where tourists can learn about how Pangea formed and subsequently broke apart, the highest tides on earth, and the magnificent landscape steeped in Mi’kmaw legend among other things.
As its website explains, a geopark is a place where tourists can learn the connections between geology, local communities, culture, and nature. Geoparks are designed with the hopes of promoting tourism to celebrate an area in an original way.
As the manager, Peterkin does everything from basic office administration, finances, helps develop partnerships with businesses up and down the geopark, and everything in between.
“I enjoy working in anything to do with heritage, tourism and culture and the geopark is involved in a lot of those things,” said Peterkin. “I have also come to appreciate the value of the geopark, the amazing geology, and culture all up and down the Fundy Shore. So, it just seemed like a good fit and something I wanted to do.”
Although she is not a geologist, Peterkin understands the draw of the area’s natural beauty.
“I don’t pretend to be a geologist whatsoever. I enjoy walking the beaches and looking at the rock formations,” she said. “I don’t look at them with a scientific eye. I am more looking at the beauty of the area, the way the beaches change every time the tides come in and out.”
Two spots in the geopark Peterkin particularly likes is the Five Islands Lighthouse Park and Partridge Island Beach.
“Partridge Island Beach is close to where I live so it’s very easy to get to its an amazing beach that changes every time you go with the tide,” she said.
“Sometimes Partridge Island is covered in fog. When the tide is coming in, you get the bubbling of the water that the legend says is Glooscap’s grandmother’s boiling pot. There’s a whole fishing weir. There’s lots to see and do and it’s a great beach to go walking on.”
Although the park does catch the attention of geologists, many people come for the area’s natural landscape.
“We get some visitors who are here because of the geology and they may be geologists or earth scientists or paleontologists or some other scientific discipline, and they are really looking at the rock formations and how the continents broke apart about 200 million years ago,” she said.
“Other people want to come and have a beautiful walk on the beach and find a pretty stone, watch the tides come in, stick their feet in the water, sit in a lawn chair and enjoy the view, so there’s something for everybody.”
The Cliffs of Fundy Geopark is a spot Peterkin feels gets overlooked a lot of the time.
“I think this shore in Nova Scotia has been overlooked by visitors and by locals for a long time. People think of Nova Scotia and they immediately think of Halifax, Peggy’s Cove or Cape Breton, all of which are beautiful places,” she said.
“(But) you have to get off the beaten path to come to the geopark. From talking to visitors, they’re saying it’s an amazing place and I can’t wait to come back, because it really is quite a beautiful location with so much to offer.”
Peterkin recently participated in our question and answer session:
Q. Where and when were you born?
Montreal, Quebec – a child of the sixties!
Q. What’s your favourite place in the world?
There are three – Parrsboro, Scotland, and a warm sunny island in the Caribbean.
Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I took flying lessons a few years ago and was doing very well, but never could learn to land the plane.
Q. Can you describe one experience that has changed your life?
Moving to Parrsboro from Ontario. It is such a welcoming and creative place. I love the pace of life, I love that traffic stops if it even just appears that you may want to cross the road. I love the support from friends and neighbours, and I really love the tides and the changing landscape of the bay.
Q. How do you like to relax? Walking one of our many beaches, working in the garden or reading on the back deck.
Q. What is your greatest fear? That travel will never return to anything close to preCOVID conditions.
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
My artwork, collected during international travel, or from one of our many Atlantic Canadian artists, potters, and painters.
Q. What is your best quality? My organizational skills and interest in meeting new people.
Q. What is your greatest regret?
Not moving to Parrsboro sooner.
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Beth Peterkin manages the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark, where she is in charge of basic of ce administration, the nances, helps develop partnerships with businesses up and down the geopark and everything in between.
Partridge Island Beach is one of the places in the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark that stands out to manager Beth Peterkin the most.