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The preparation for the Katla Geopark Project started early in the year of 2008 with a project led by the University Centre of South Iceland (UCSI) and later partly funded by the Growth agreement project for the South region of Iceland.

The UCSI chose the most eastern and most rural part of the area as a target area and decided to put much focus and resources into building on the foundations and strengths of the area.  The volcanic nature of the area was soon identified as an important resource for developing geotourism, and the idea of developing a geopark was suggested in a geological report by geologist Lovísa Ásbjörnsdóttir.  From the start all three municipalities participated in the project both by providing finance and lots of time. Moreover, companies, organisations and individuals have participated in the project from the start. The ultimate aim of the project is to create jobs for people with academic degrees in order to encourage them to move back home after their studies.

After a thoughtful and full analysis and assessment of the situation it was obvious that the next logical move was to keep up the good cooperation between the municipalities and start the Geopark project. Since 2008 a working committee has met regularly in order to coordinate strategies of the municipalities and the vision for the area. The committee consists of one government official and one representative of the tourist industry from each municipality. Moreover there were representatives of the UCSI, the regional development centre, the marketing centre and the University of Iceland´s Institute of regional research centres.

The Katla Geopark Project was formally established on the 19th of November 2010 as an autonomous independent corporate body.  There are eight founding partners; the three municipalities of Skaftárhreppur, Mýrdalshreppur and Rangárþing eystra, University Centre of South Iceland, Development Centre of South Iceland, University of Iceland´s Institute of regional research centres, Skógar museum, Katla centre and Kirkjubæjarstofa.

The Katla Geopark Project handed in its application for membership in the European Geoparks Network in November 2010.