A vision became reality

In 1988, when the first geo-trail project was opened in Hillesheim, no-one could have guessed what a Europe-wide impact this would have in the Vulkaneifel 12 years later. The first success of this initiative was that Hillesheim received an Intelligent Tourism award from the European Union for their establishment of the trail.

In the meantime many geological institutions were established in the Vulkaneifel. The Vulkaneifel’s geological wealth and the significance of the landscape in terms of cultural history were clearly illustrated. At the same time, the communities made the landscape accessible as a new kind of place to relax and have fun. By guiding the visitors using signposted trails the preservation of the natural beauty has been secured for future generations.

In June 2000, supported by the Division of Earth at UNESCO, four European geoparks founded the European Geoparks Network. The Vulkaneifel European Geopark was one of them.

At the heart of the European Geoparks Network is the charter which was formally recognised on 5th June 2000 by the four founding partners in Lesbos. It describes the project and regulates the acceptance of others partners.
The core conditions of the charter, as well as the UNESCO definition for additional geoparks, are as follows:
A geopark is a protected region containing phenomena of special geological significance, rarity or beauty. These phenomena are representative of the geological history of a region and the processes that created them. Like a nature park, a geopark falls under the auspices of the local government. As well as offering opportunities for scientific study and wide-ranging environmental education, a geopark should have great potential for the development of the local economy.