Location and Values: Gros Morne National Park is located on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland in eastern Canada. It is internationally acclaimed for its complex geology which reveals the geological events that are involved in the process of continental drift and plate tectonics. Here the sequences of exposed rocks are the result of processes involved when the ancient continental margin of North America collided with an oceanic plate, uplifting a mountain chain and relocating a portion of oceanic crust and ocean floor sediments on to the land so that rocks of the deep ocean crust and earth’s mantle now lie here exposed. The rock exposures (and the geological story they portray) are clearly visible and accessible, thanks to the continuous natural processes of erosion associated with glaciation, which continues to this day.
While the portrayal of geological events provides the primary justification for world heritage listing, Gros Morne National Park is also recognized for its outstanding natural beauty. Glacial action has not only exposed the area’s unique geological sequences, but also created a spectacular landscape of fjords, sheer cliffs, magnificent U-shaped valleys, waterfalls and lakes.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of Gros Morne National Park is ‘good, with some concerns’. The IUCN report recognizes that the outstanding universal values that justify the park’s world heritage listing (i.e. its geological and scenic attributes) are largely intact, but raises concerns about the state of the native forest in Gros Morne National Park, the impact of its large (introduced) moose population on ecosystem stability and biodiversity, the management of snowmobiling in the park, and the potential threat from oil and gas development in the region. Long-term protection of the park’s world heritage values would benefit from a Strategic Environmental Assessment for the wider region and the creation of a buffer zone around the park.
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description