The Natural and Cultural History of the Ku-ring-gai GeoRegion, New South Wales
The proposed identification and promotion of a ‘Ku-ring-gai GeoRegion (KGR)’, an area of approximately 440 km2, is a community project initiated by the Friends of Ku-ring-gai Environment (FOKE). The proposed GeoRegion embraces the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, other bushland areas, as well as the coast and estuaries located just north of the city of Sydney. This paper describes the outstanding natural history of the GeoRegion including significant examples of Permo-Triassic sedimentation with evidence of ancient climate change and Jurassic/Cenozoic volcanic activity, together with associated geomorphology, soil genesis, endemic biodiversity, and cultural values. Its preserved ancient land surface supports diverse vegetation communities and the drowned river valleys provide evidence of the continuing impacts of climate change. The strong connection between this Country, its landscape, and its First Peoples is also highlighted. This foundation of outstanding geology and geomorphology and associated values has inspired a longer-term objective of the GeoRegion being nominated as an Aspiring UNESCO Global Geopark, particularly given its accessibility and strong potential for educational and recreational outreach to a large visitor base. In the short term, it is proposed to establish demonstration geosites, many of which are connected by themed geotrails, and which are expected to provide significant benefits to conservation, education, and tourism.