Popa Mountain ‘will gain Unesco Geopark status’

Min Latt
A fossil dig site within the Popa Mountain range. (Photo – Popa Mountain Lovers Group)
Popa Mountain range and its surrounding natural environment will receive Unesco Global Geopark status before the end of the current administration’s rule.
Geologist Than Htun, chair of the committee specifically dedicated to accomplishing this goal, said that the process began in December 2016 with a combined effort from multiple ministries and departments, including the Hotel and Tourism Ministry and the Forestry Department.
“We started on December 9 with mostly on-site investigations to collect data for research for things such as places that will be attractive to tourists. So far we’ve found around 110 places of interest already and we’re still  finding more. We expect a total of 250 places and at least one more year of data collection. And then we can proceed with preparations for tourist viewing. We estimate [we will have] a total of four years of work to submit it to Unesco,” said Than Htun.
Many of the geology-related places of interest surrounding the Popa Mountain range include strange rock formations and fossils of animals and ancient trees. These will be among the many items to be showcased in a research station and/or museum that will eventually be built.
Than Htun is optimistic that the project will succeed and that once their goal is achieved, the relatively poor region will be able to prosper.