Gros Morne National Park is a world heritage site located on the west coast of Newfoundland. At 1,805 km2, it is the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada; it is surpassed by Torngat Mountains National Park, which is 9,700 km2.
The park takes its name from Newfoundland's second-highest mountain peak (at 806 metres) located within the park. Its French meaning is "large mountain standing alone," or more literally "great sombre." Gros Morne is a member of the Long Range Mountains, an outlying range of the Appalachian Mountains, stretching the length of the island's west coast. It is the eroded remnants of a mountain range formed 1.2 billion years ago. "The park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth's mantle lie exposed."
The Gros Morne National Park Reserve was established in 1973, and was made a national park in October 1, 2005. The park was the subject of a short film in 2011's National Parks Project, directed by Sturla Gunnarsson and scored by Melissa Auf der Maur, Sam Shalabi and Jamie Fleming.
Western Brook Pond is a fresh water fjord which was carved out by glaciers during the most recent ice age from 25,000 to about 10,000 years ago. Once the glaciers melted, the land, which had been pushed down by the weight of the ice sheet, rebounded and the outlet to the sea was cut off. The 30-kilometre long narrow "pond" then filled in with fresh water. The water in the fjord is extremely pure and is assigned the highest purity rating available for natural bodies of water. Pissing Mare Falls, the highest waterfall in eastern North America and 199th highest in the world, flow into Western Brook Pond.
The Tablelands, found between the towns of Trout River and Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park, look more like a barren desert than traditional Newfoundland. This is due to the ultramafic rock – peridotite – which makes up the Tablelands. It is thought to originate in the Earth's mantle and was forced up from the depths during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. Peridotite lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most plant life, hence its barren appearance. The rock is very low in calcium, very high in magnesium, and has toxic amounts of heavy metals. Peridotite is also high in iron, which accounts for its brownish colour (rusted colour). Underneath this weathered zone, the rock is really a dark green colour.
The most notable animal in the park is the moose, part of a booming population that was introduced to Newfoundland around 1900. Other common wildlife in the park include an ecotype of caribou (R.t caribou), black bears, red foxes, Arctic foxes, snowshoe hares, red squirrels, lynxes, river otters and beaver. Harbour seals are common in St. Pauls inlet, and whales (pilots minkes, humpbacks, fins) may be in the area especially during the capelin season in early summer. Many bird species can be found in the park, from shorebirds along the ocean to birds of the bogs and interior forests.
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