Project History - Amazing Places
With the support of its partners, the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve has mapped out existing trails on its territory, with the intent of adding these to the vast Trans-Canada Trail network. The trails have been listed and identified by GPS. They have received an "Amazing Place" designation.
Trails designated as Amazing Places have a remarkable environment, a unique biodiversity, and fascinating landscapes. The project including developing innovative and interactive public education tools about the trails and their Amazing Places through traditional media as well as a Web application.
How the Amazing Places Were Chosen
In 2010, the Reserve staff traveled and mapped many trails in the area. During this process, possible Amazing Places were designated. The areas were mapped, described and photographed to capture their uniqueness and make sure they fit the criteria of an "Amazing Place".
Information collected on each Amazing Place came from a variety of sources, including local citizens. One of the best indications that a site was indeed an Amazing Place is the fact that people have been visiting the site for decades or even centuries. The popularity of a site can often be explained by the fact that the place has a unique feature that is talked about a lot and gradually becomes part of the local culture. If a site becomes a popular place for leisure and relaxation, then it is obvious that the site is memorable, or that one of its features draws people in for a visit, time and time again.
Photos were needed to fully understand the history of each of the Amazing Places. Images were obtained via many groups which directly or indirectly participated in the project. The wide variety of photos taken under different lighting and angles allowed FBR staff to choose which photos tell the story best for each site, as well as to better understand what makes each place so wonderful.
The FBR then developed an interactive online guide that describes each trail and Amazing Place. Detailed notes are provided in order help visitors find each site. Once at a site, visitors can look for a panel with a QR code, which can be read by smartphones. The code guides the user to a specific content of the Reserve's Amazing Places website.
Many partners participated in this pilot project, including the New Brunswick Trail Council, Fundy National Park, many municipalities as well as local and regional community groups responsible for trail maintenance. All these stakeholders have collaborated to establish the route of trails proposed by the Fundy Biosphere Reserve to be part of the Trans-Canada Trail network.
The Amazing Places project has received lots of positive media attention as well as enthusiasm from the public. It has caught the eye of other World Biosphere Reserves, and the concept has been replicated in Long Point Biosphere, Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve. The Fundy Biosphere Reserve is currently working with its partners at the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) to establish a national framework for guidelines to implement the Amazing Places project and logo in other Canadian biosphere reserves.