Notes and observations from a photographer and cultural interpreter living on Canada's east coast.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Exploring Gros Morne
Gros Morne National Park is one of Newfoundland and Labrador's scenic treasures. The second largest of Atlantic Canada's national parks, it lies on the province's west coast, at the base of the Great Northern Peninsula. Gros Morne was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for its remarkable geological significance, which contributed greatly to current knowledge about plate tectonics.The park takes its name from the highest peak within its boundaries (right). Listen to an audio documentary about the park's geology here to learn more about the park's geological features. Most services for the park are located in the communities of Rocky Harbour and Norris Point on the northern side of Bonne Bay, and Woody Point and Trout River on its
south side. There are restaurants, shops, accommodations including hotels, inns hostels and cottages, filling stations and police and hospital facilities. The park also provides over 225 camping spaces, some of which are open year-round. Wildlife in the park includes moose, foxes and bear as well as abundant bird life. Summer activities in the park include hiking, canoeing and kayaking and several organized boat tours are available. There are interpretive programs about wildlife, geology, plants, and the area's human history and culture. In winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be enjoyed by outdoors enthusiasts. Among the most popular attractions within Gros Morne National Park is the bout tour on Western Brook Pond, accessed by a 40-minute walk to the docking facilities. The tour operates from June through September, offering a two-hour interpreted trip on this ancient, land-locked fiord, past billion-year-old rocks. Waterfalls pour from the plateau above, and eagles and ravens often soar high overhead. The human history of the Gros Morne area is explored through park interpretation events held regularly in summer, and also through the Broom Point Interpretation Site, the restored cabin and fish store used by the Mudge family for their summer fishing operation from 1941 until 1975.
Until the construction of the road along the northern side of Bonne Bay, all traffic bound for points north of the present-day park travelled south of the bay, crossing by ferry from Woody Point to Norris Point. The old ferry landings still exist, now used as docking facilities by the boat tours operating on Bonne Bay and the water taxi linking the two communities. To learn more about Gros Morne, visit the Parks Canada website.