Great Canadian Parks / Newfoundland

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The Parks / Newfoundland & Labrador / Gros Morne National Park



The hike to Green Gardens is unlike anything else in Gros Morne National Park. From the lunar like barrens of the Tablelands, a small brook courses through a balsam fir forest to the ‘tuckamore’, the densely packed, stunted vegetation of the wind-swept coast, and finally to the sea. Here, pillow shaped rocks, the result of volcanic activity beneath the ocean floor, were formed along the coast as lava cooled under water.

 

 

Only about half the species found on the Canadian mainland inhabit Newfoundland. Raccoons, porcupines, groundhogs and skunks do not live here. Endemic species include black bear, arctic hare and woodland caribou.

 

Caribou trails along the high ridges and upland plateau lead to the preferred areas for birthing and rearing of young in the spring. The large patches of unmelted snow provide a constant supply of succulent new plant growth, as well as relief from the insect parasites that plague the animals in summer. Herds generally move down into the forested lower elevations for the winter months, feeding on caribou moss and lichens. In the early 1900's, caribou populations were estimated to number more than 100,000. Within 20 years, that number had declined to 10,000, largely due to over-hunting that probably drove the herds into the highlands. In recent years, larger concentrations of the caribou have been seen on the coastal lowlands. Park scientists are tracking these recent migration patterns, which may be part of a larger cycle, comparing them with changes in vegetation and topography profiles affected by increased moose populations.

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