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Gros Morne National Park (NF045)

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Gros Morne National Park (NF045)

Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador

Latitude 49.631°N
Longitude 57.736°W
Altitude 0 - 806m
Area 1,865.12km²

Site Description

Gros Morne National Park, on the western coast of Newfoundland, is a large park known for its spectacular scenery. It has a combination of mountainous barrens, forests, and diverse coastal lowlands. In mountainous areas, extensive areas of open and rocky ground are found at the higher elevations, while at lower elevations boreal forest tree species, such as spruce and fir, are present. Gros Morne Mountain at 806 m is the second highest point in Newfoundland. Long fiord-like inlets and lakes create a dramatic contrast to the rolling mountains. Unlike Gros Morne Mountain and the surrounding hills, the Tablelands area is almost without vegetation. The ancient peridotite rock found at this unique feature was formed in the Earths mantle and is chemically inhospitable to plants. The presence of this feature as well as others, was the reason behind the designation of Gros Morne National Park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Arctic Hare and the Newfoundland Caribou are two of the highland mammals that can be seen in Gros Morne National Park.

In the lowlands, diverse bog, meadow, shrub and coastal plant communities are found. For instance, near Bakers Brook Pond and Western Brook Pond are bogs containing Bakeapple, Leafy White Orchis, Pitcher Plant, iris, cranberry and heath plants. The coastal environments range from sandy beaches of dune grass to coastal cliffs to cobble beaches.

Birds

Not surprisingly a park of this size with its varied habitats is host to many species of birds in total, 207 bird species have been recorded here. One of the most notable is the Rock Ptarmigan subspecies welchi. Other subspecies breed in the arctic, but this subspecies finds suitable habitat atop the mountains of Gros Morne National Park and a few other regions of Newfoundland. This subspecies has a range of less than 50,000 km² in Canada, which qualifies it for the restricted-range category of the IBA program. Two other restricted-range species found in the park are the Red Crossbill subspecies pusilla and the Ovenbird subspecies furvoir. The Red Crossbill is found sparsely across coniferous forests while the Ovenbird is found in deciduous woods in summer.

Small but noteworthy numbers of breeding Harlequin Ducks are found on inaccessible rivers in the park. A partial survey in 1997 revealed 11 Harlequin Ducks.

Conservation Issues

Because Gros Morne National Park is a federal park it is fully protected. There are no known threats, although it is worth noting the occasional occurrence of fire, Hemlock Looper and Spruce Budworm, all of which are natural phenomena that can change the forest to the advantage of some birds and the disadvantage of others. So far there is no sign of recreational over-development or overuse, but this is a potential problem with a park as popular as Gros Morne.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Black-headed Gull
Number Year Season
102012Winter
82011Winter
202011Summer
52009Winter
102008Summer
62001Winter
82000Winter
91998Winter
51991Winter
Dovekie
Number Year Season
262006Winter
101990Winter
Great Black-backed Gull
Number Year Season
2,5482015Winter
2,0502014Winter
Iceland Gull (glaucoides/kumlieni)
Number Year Season
8011991Winter
Piping Plover
Number Year Season
42013Summer
42012Summer
22011Summer