So far, there have been three projects aiming at the establishment of the Golden Geopark of Lapland. Since the expiry of the latest project, the Inari Municipal Business & Development Nordica has been responsible for the operation of the Golden Geopark of Lapland. The Golden Geopark has not yet been accepted as a member in the Geoparks Network.
The preparatory GeoKulMa project (focusing on geology, gold, culture and tourism) was implemented in 2011–2012 under the administration of the Gold Museum Foundation. The aim of the project was to gather extensive information in order to understand what would be needed for establishing a geopark that could be accepted to the international Geoparks Network. During the project, a preliminary assessment visit to the area was made by Mr Richard Watson from the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark in Northern Ireland as a representative of the European Geoparks Network (EGN). The project was funded by the Regional Council of Lapland (ERDF funding) and private financers.
The second project aiming at the establishment of the Golden Geopark was conducted under the administration of the Inari Municipal Business & Development Nordica between 1 July and 31 December 2013. The goal of this project was to prepare an application for membership in the European Geoparks Network and to network with other Geoparks, for example, by participating in the European Geoparks Conference and giving a presentation at the event. The project was funded by the Regional Council of Lapland (ERDF funding), the municipalities of Inari and Sodankylä and Metsähallitus (Natural Heritage Services). In addition to the parties listed above, the project management group included representatives of the Geological Survey of Finland, Inari-Saariselkä Tourism Ltd and Gold Prospector Association of Finnish Lapland. Furthermore, the Tankavaara Gold Prospector Museum and Sámi Museum Siida participated as specialist members. The application was completed as planned, but the management group decided not to send it in the year in question.
During the third Golden Geopark of Lapland project (1 January 2014–30 April 2015), the parties lodged the membership application with the European Geoparks Network as planned in November 2014. In addition, the project included collecting an information and image bank of the local geosites, forming closer ties with the Finnish and European Geoparks Networks, increasing the visibility of the Golden Geopark, and promoting local collaboration between enterprises within the Geopark area. During the project, the project organisation also participated in a Global Geoparks Network (GGN) conference, where it held two presentations about the Golden Geopark. The project was funded by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (business environment development funding), the municipality of Inari and Metsähallitus. In addition to the funding members, the project management group included representatives of the Geological Survey of Finland, Gold Prospector Association of Finnish Lapland, Inari-Saariselkä Tourism Ltd and Inarin yrittäjät ry (Inari Entrepreneurs Association). Furthermore, the Tankavaara Gold Prospector Museum, Sámi Museum Siida and municipality of Sodankylä participated as specialist members.
Geoparks network membership application:
You can also find the apllication here:
Time after projects
Between 1 January and 31 December 2015, the Golden Geopark of Lapland operated under the Inari Municipal Business & Development Nordica and its operation was funded by the municipalities of Inari and Sodankylä and Metsähallitus. The Geological Survey of Finland and the Gold Prospector Association of Finnish Lapland were permanent specialist members of the Geopark’s management group. During the period in question, the organisation arranged several Geopark events and increased the visibility of the project specifically locally. An assessment visit was made to the Golden Geopark area in summer 2015 as a compulsory element of the membership application process. The EGN assessors conducting the visit were Marie-Luise Frey from Germany and Alan Blain from the Shetland Islands.
In September 2015, the only Geopark in Finland, the Rokua Geopark located near the city of Oulu, hosted the annual conference of the European Geoparks Network. The EGN announces its new members at the annual conference, so in the anticipation of acquiring an official Geopark status and being a Geopark candidate, the Golden Geopark organisation sent at the conference a delegation of six people, who held two presentations at the event. Acquiring a membership after only two and a half years’ of active work is highly unusual, which is why the Golden Geoparks also failed to achieve a membership. According to the feedback from the network, the area, for example, must commit to the development of the Geopark on a long-term basis.
After 31 December 2015, the Golden Geopark of Lapland will no longer be actively developed and the membership in the EGN will no longer be actively sought.