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Celebrating Gros Morne

By Guest Blogger, Anne Marceau

I attended the Celebration of Gros Morne at Erin’s Pub in St. John’s last month, along with about a hundred other people. What struck me was the diversity of the participants—all sharing their love for Gros Morne and wanting to show their support for keeping it free of industrial developments, such as oil and gas.

The music provided by Mark Manning was great, and in between sets a few speakers talked of their experiences in Gros Morne and why they supported a buffer zone around the park as recommended by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

I’m very fortunate to live near the centre of Gros Morne National Park. I moved here 26 years ago to work with Parks Canada, and when I retired two years ago, I knew I would stay.  I chose this to be my home, so I’m committed to its long-term protection, and to ensuring its ecological, social and economic well-being.

It’s easy to be blown away by the landscape of fjords, mountains, and seacoast. Thepark’s natural beauty, and the story of plate tectonics told by the area’s rocks, are the reasons for UNESCO’s recognition of Gros Morne as a World Heritage Site. As some of you know, an immersion in Gros Morne’s wilderness can be a powerful experience.

Yet, surprisingly, what often leaves a lasting impression on visitors to Gros Morne, is the blend of community and nature. This stunning unspoiled area is home to about 3,000 people in eight small communities. They work in conservation, tourism, fisheries, forestry, health care, education, transportation, and retail. These are real communities, not just park town-sites. And they face the challenges of rural communities all across the country—out-migration of young people, an aging population, and the declineof traditional resource-harvesting economies.

But I see bright prospects. Unlike the boom and bust economies of extractive industries, sustainable development around the park is compatible with conservation goals and social values. A buffer zone would allow traditional activities such as fishing, wood-cutting, and farming to co-exist and complement the tourism and creativeindustries that flourish amidst the splendor of Gros Morne National Park and World Heritage Site.

CPAWS has been helping us to bring awareness to a wider public of the threat of oil exploration and development, and to promoting a vision for the long-term integrity of Gros Morne. With your support, we can safeguard one of our planet’s most outstanding natural places, ensuring that it remains a good place to live and an inspiring place to visit.

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Sign our petition asking for a buffer zone

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