Mayor puts focus on geo-tourism

Staff ~ Transcontinental Media
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Cape St. George Mayor Peter Fenwick is hoping geo-tourism will attract more visitors to the Stephenville and Port au Port Peninsula areas.

In fact, he's so serious about it that he and his daughter, Catherine Fenwick, director general of l'Association regionale de la Cote-Ouest, recently took an intense 13-day prospectors' course put off by the College of the North Atlantic.

Cape St. George -

Cape St. George Mayor Peter Fenwick is hoping geo-tourism will attract more visitors to the Stephenville and Port au Port Peninsula areas.

In fact, he's so serious about it that he and his daughter, Catherine Fenwick, director general of l'Association regionale de la Cote-Ouest, recently took an intense 13-day prospectors' course put off by the College of the North Atlantic.

"We wanted to identify the geo-tourism on the Port au Port Peninsula and the Stephenville area and learned the tourism potential in this field is there," Fenwick said.

They also learned the geological features of the Port au Port Peninsula and Gros Morne are similar, with the exception those on the Port au Port Peninsula and in the area are a lot more accessible and easier to be seen.

As part of the course they visited nine field stops, representing a number of different types of rocks and formations.

This ranged from gypsum at Romain's Brook, red limestone at Felix Cove, terrestrical Carboniferous karst infill sediments at the Port au Port South Shore; vertical calcite veins at Abrahams Cove; wackestone at Piccadilly Harbour; graptolites at what's known as the Piccadilly (West Bay) Quarry and taconian allochthon at Piccadilly, just down from the gas bar/convenience store.

From a geological perspective, Fenwick felt the most spectacular site is a place called Black Point where there are a few feet of greenish-brown shale and calarenite containing graptolites as well as shale and fine-grained greywacke.

This is located about 5.9 kilometres down the road leading to Point au Mal and 60 metres down a small access road towards the beach.

"The types of features located here and at some of the other locations are very attractive to people interested in geo-tourism," Fenwick said.

He said he believes some of the sites identified are of world-class significance, including the fossil beds at Blanche Brook in Stephenville.

The Fenwicks are looking at presenting major proposals to funding agencies in the hopes of getting financing to promote and highlight some of these sites, including about a half a dozen of them next year. He said a long-term proposal would be required to really concentrate on the features available in the area.

The Western Star

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic, Port au Port South Shore

Geographic location: Port au Port Peninsula, Stephenville, Abrahams Cove West Bay Black Point Point au Mal Blanche Brook Western Star

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