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Gros Morne: don’t frack it up!

« Patrick, regarde où tu vas!!! » That's a line I've heard a lot over the years – it's my mom's backseat driving. But perhaps I've never heard it quite as often as during my recent family trip to Gros Morne National Park. I admit, it's a challenge to stay focused on the road when you're completely surrounded by the park's stunning scenery.

From the eerie orange hills of the Tablelands to the beautiful rugged coastline to the gnarly trees – travelling through Gros Morne felt like a mash-up of many exotic destinations rolled into one. Arizona meets Scotland meets the Northwest Territories. Thankfully, my mom's frequent warnings of « attention aux orignaux! » did help me keep my eyes on the road.   

With its 200,000 or so annual visitors, Gros Morne is a very important economic development engine for the entire west coast of Newfoundland. Many tourists, including my own family this year, make the trip primarily for the park but end up visiting other parts of Newfoundland as well. My brother and I visited beautiful Port-au-Port peninsula. My parents crossed over to Saint John's.

Now the million-dollar question. Would we have made that trip if oil and gas development was occurring within and around the park? Maybe. Maybe not. Certainly, some of the magnificent landscapes we did see would have been lost forever. We definitely wouldn't have spent any time or money in Trout River or Sally's Cove, next to drilling operations. Tanker trucks would have been causing headaches on the only road into the park. Come to think of it, perhaps we, and some of the other 200,000 visitors to the park, would have gone elsewhere. And that's before taking into account the risk of a devastating spill that would be looming permanently on local communities, fragile ecosystems, and the tourism industry of the entire west coast.

Some places are just not meant for industrial development. After having seen it for myself, I can assure you that Gros Morne is most definitely one of them.

Add your voice to our campaign to Save Gros Morne today!