Great Canadian Parks / Newfoundland

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The Parks / Newfoundland & Labrador / Gros Morne National Park


Undaunted by a failed attempt in 1878 to introduce moose as a source of game for the local residents, the government transported four moose from New Brunswick in 1904. As a result of the second attempt, a thriving moose population of some 150 000 inhabits Newfoundland. According to park researchers, the 7 000 to 8 000 moose in Gros Morne could be one of the highest moose densities in the world.


They believe the moose is influencing the vegetation balance of the park. In the absence of wolves, man is its only real predator, and moose numbers are increasing. The moose eat balsam fir and hardwood shoots, allowing few trees to grow to cone-producing maturity. Spruce trees taking advantage of the available space could change the forest diversity.



The Maritime Archaic Tradition on the coast of Labrador dates back 7500 years, and since we know that the people of Labrador travelled across the Strait of Belle Isle, it is presumed they visited the western shores of Newfoundland. The oldest artifacts known to us have been uncovered at Port au Choix, just north of Gros Morne. Dating back 3500 years, the site is immensely rich in stone, bone, antler and ivory tools, as well as ornaments and weapons.


The Dorset and Groswater Eskimos fished and hunted from these headlands around 2500 years ago but disappeared for unknown reasons. Excavations in the vicinity have revealed grave sites containing skeletons of a robust people with broad heads and pronounced cheekbones, ranging in age from infancy to about 60 years. Burials were ceremonial, and the graves give us a clear indication of the abundant wildlife in the region at that time seals, walrus, caribou, beaver, fox, marten, geese, ducks, gulls, terns, swans. One grave even contained 200 bills of the now extinct Great Auk.


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