Geopark is a management concept of sustainable development of an area based on the geodiversity, biodiversity, and culturediversity through conservation and existing spatial plan of the region. Geopark is a geographical region that has outstanding geological heritage sites and part of a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Geopark includes not only geological sites, but it has definite geographical boundary as well as the synergy between the diversity of geology, biologiy and culture in the region. People living in the area are invited to participate in order to protect and improve the functioning of the natural heritage.
To realize this concept it needs the support of infrastructure, facilities, regulations, government policies and people’s empowerment. Geopark has the motto: “Celebrating Earth Heritage, Sustaining Local Communities”. Development and sustainable economic growth in the geopark are developed through tourism such as: geotourism, marine tourism, ecotourism, adventure tourism, cultural tourism, shopping tourism, culinary tourism, and man-made tourism.
Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark have 126,100 Ha area or 1,261 km2. That covering 74 vilages, in eight subdistrict. The district of Ciracap, Surade, Ciemas, Waluran, Simpenan, Palabuhanratu, Cikakak, and Cisolok, which devided in to three geoarea: Ciletuh geoarea, Simpenan geoarea, and Cisolok geoarea. Geopark Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu neighbourhood also include area of Cibanteng, Tangkubanparahu, Sukawayana Nature Reserve; Cikepuh Wildlife Reserve; Sukawayana nature park, managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of West Java (BBKSDA); integrated military training area managed by KOSTRAD; Turtle conservation area in Pangumbahan; and air force exercise area on the Ujunggenteng cave; Regional shrimp aquaculture in Mandrajaya and Ujunggenteng and batik village in Purwasedar (Rosana, et al., 2015).
Ciletuh geoarea has a landscape of horse shoe – shaped plateau (amphitheater) which is open toward the Ciletuh Bay (Martodjojo, 1984). The amphitheater shape has diameter of more than 15 km, believed to be the largest natural amphitheater form in Indonesia. In the middle of the amphitheater there is a distribution of the oldest rocks in western Java in the form of mélange and ophiolite as result of subduction activities between oceanic crust and continental crust in the Cretaceous age more than 65 Ma.
Melange and ophiolite rocks composed of peridotite, gabbro and basalt lava; metamorphic rocks such as greenschist, serpentinite and amphibolite; sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and quartzkonglomeratik (Ciletuh Formation). Those are the oldest rocks exposed on the surface of Jawa Barat formed (deposited) in the deep ocean trenches.
Melange and ophiolite rocks in the Geoarea Ciletuh is very distinctive, unique, rare, and is referred to as fossil tectonics. Determination of the age of some rocks in the complex Ciletuh done by Schiller in 1999. Gabbro rocks around Sodongparat aged between 51-56 million years. Granitic componentsfrom sandstone of Ciletuh Formation dated 134 million years old, while the basalt components in the melange known as 89.6 million years old, and andesite at Kunti island of 22.4 million years old. The process of erosion and aberration that occurs in Ciletuh Formations has produced unique rock forms that resemble to various shapes of animals such as rhinos, turtles, frogs, dragons, bulls, batik stone, fence stone and others.
In the highlands of the amphitheater covered by sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, breccia and lava (part of the Cikarang Member of Jampang Formation) Upper Oligocene – Lower Miocene (about 25-15 million years) that sedimented in marine environment. The rocks are then suffered tectonic processes (upflited and normal fault), resulting very large avalanche that form as horseshoe shaped which became known as the Ciletuh amphitheater. As evidence of the fault process is the presence of numbers of waterfalls along the walls of the amphitheater such as Curug Awang, Curug Cimarijung, Curug Sodong and triangular-shaped hills in some cliff of amphitheater.
The initiation of the establishment CiletuhPalabuhanratu Geopark based on five key components namely: academics, representing elements of university, colleges or research institutions; community, represents the people who live and stay in the region; government includes representatives of the government from the lowest level in the village until the governor, as well as the central government institutions under the ministry; and enterpreneur representing stateowned and private sector, and mass media. Those five components have the same vision and mission to conserve natural resources and improve the economy of surrounding communities.
Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu Geopark development program is integrated between local communities, local government of Sukabumi Regency, West Java provincial government, BBKSDA, Universitas Padjadjaran, Geological Agency, and Biofarma that representing the private sector and other institutions in the area of geopark. National Geopark Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu already have a Geopark Management Bureau, where this Bureau has the task to design and supervise programs carried out in the geopark such as: conservation, education and community empowerment in accordance with the geopark motto. Ciletuh Geopark has been designated as National Geopark by the National Committee of Indonesian Geopark (KNGI) together with the Indonesian National Committee for UNESCO (KNIU) on December 22, 2015. Geopark has been extend and rename to become Geopark National Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu by the same committees on June 21, 2016, with the theme: “Subduction Fossil, Jampang Plateu, zone of magmatic movement”.
Access to the Ciletuh geoarea can be reached by road from Jakarta or Bandung leading to the Tamanjaya village in the Ciemas District through Palabuhanratu city. The trip to geopark area also can be reached by speedboat from Palabuhanratu harbour toward the Palangpang beach in Ciwaru village, the centre of geopark region.
In some locations, there have been provided the information board, parking and toilet facilities. Some hotels, inns and restaurants are available in the village of Ujunggenteng and Pangumbahan that professionally managed. In the villages of Tamanjaya, Girimukti, Mandrajaya and Ciwaru, there are some homestays and restaurants managed by the locals.
The potential of tourism in National Geopark Ciletuh-Palabuhanratu is big enough to be developed, so that it can increase revenue and economy of the community through local products. In addition to tourism activities are also available such in the area of geopark, do sports activities like paragliding, coastal fringe, rock climbing, snorkeling, surfing, diving, and fishing in the sea with boating while looking at the unique rock and small islands along the coast area of geopark.