The Niagara Escarpment
Presented at the Leading Edge Conference 2011
“Sustainable Tourism and Economic Development
in the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve.”
By Don Alexander, Commissioner, Niagara Escarpment Commission
The Niagara Escarpment is one of 562 Biosphere Reserves in the World. When the UNESCO MAB programme convened an International Workshop on the Importance of Sacred Natural Sites for Biodiversity Conservation, Biosphere Reserves were represented from all parts of the world EXCEPT North America and Western Europe. (1)
The distinction is made that “In many non-western societies traditional sacred areas fulfill functions similar to those of legally protected areas in “the west”. (1)
In traditional cultures the sacred is recognized in forests, individual trees, forest groves, waterfalls, springs, caves, prominent heights, glens and trails.
Consideration of the Niagara Escarpment as Sacred place strengthens the conservation ethic among growing numbers of people.
There is increasing opinion that a “sacred” out of the ordinary dimension will be necessary to give the environment the priority it needs to cope with pressures on the entire biosphere system.