Gros Morne National Park

Country
Canada
Inscribed in
1987
Criteria
(vii)
(viii)
The conservation outlook for this site has been assessed as "good with some concerns" in the latest assessment cycle. Explore the Conservation Outlook Assessment for the site below. You have the option to access the summary, or the detailed assessment.
Situated on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland, 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. More recent glacial action has resulted in some spectacular scenery, with coastal lowland, alpine plateau, fjords, glacial valleys, sheer cliffs, waterfalls and many pristine lakes. © UNESCO
Douglas Sprott CC BY NC 2.0

Summary

2020 Conservation Outlook

Finalised on
02 Dec 2020
Good with some concerns
The conservation outlook for Gros Morne National Park is good, with some concerns, primarily regarding the on-going potential threat from oil and gas development in the region but also relating to the state of the native forest in Gros Morne National Park. The site’s protection and management system and its implementation are mostly effective, however, the State Party has not yet fully implemented the 2014, 2016, or 2018 recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, and recent infrastructure developments have caused concern around the development footprint in the site, especially in light of the lack of staff capacity to enforce park regulations. While the park’s geological outstanding universal values and the majority of scenic values are not being impacted at this point in time, and biodiversity values are showing signs of improvement, the latter remain at some risk.

Current state and trend of VALUES

Low Concern
Trend
Stable
Geological values and the majority of scenic values are well-preserved and not being impacted by any serious threats. Threats which are occurring are subject to targetted management for the most part. However, the potential for oil and gas exploration which may affect the site's values is yet to be addressed in full, and subject to a number of requests from the World Heritage Committee (World Heritage Committee, 2018).

Overall THREATS

Low Threat
Threats to the geological values of the site are low. The outstanding beauty of the coastline could be compromised by oil exploration in the future, if not effectively mitigated against through planning and management. Progress has been made in addressing the threat to native forest from hyper-abundant moose, and forest health has improved from poor to fair as a result of sustained managemet efforts. Snowmobiling has been reported as an issue affecting the site's values, however the effects on the OUV of the site are uncertain and the activity is subject to corresponding regulations updated in 2017. A major hydro-electric transmission corridor poses a low-level threat to the ecosystems of the site as well as it's natural beauty. Climate change carries the potential to alter the extent and duration of ice cover and in frost-free season, which could affect the site’s ecosystems, and coastal erosion could impact its geological features.

Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT

Some Concern
The management system is administered and implemented by Parks Canada through a new park management plan, which was tabled in Parliament in 2019, and includes explicit consideration of the OUV of the property (Parks Canada, 2019a). The management system is deemed mostly effective, albeit yet to be determined fully given the recent renewal of the management plan. The legal protection and management framework is strong and the site engages with neighbouring communities, although the reported lack of consultation from certain sectors surrounding recently built infrastructure which will significantly increase the development footprint is somewhat concerning, despite assurances on behalf of the management regarding consultation. An effective monitoring system is in place, which is supported by research conducted on ecological indicators, however more focus could be given to the geological values for which the site is inscribed on the World Heritage list. Concern also remains over the ability to enforce regulations relating to the site's conservation, with only four full time positions in the field unit, whose responsibilities also cover additional parks. The World Heritage Committee’s decision recommending Canada put in place a buffer zone around the park has not been implemented, and the site remains subject to multiple requests of the State Party to address issues arising from oil exploration and potential extractive activities which may negatively impact the OUV of the site. Overall, the protection and management of the site is of some concern due to these outstanding issues. 

Full assessment

Click the + and - signs to expand or collapse full accounts of information under each topic. You can also view the entire list of information by clicking Expand all on the top left.

Finalised on
02 Dec 2020

Description of values

An area of exceptional natural beauty

Criterion
(vii)
An outstanding wilderness environment of spectacular landlocked, freshwater fjords and glacier-scoured headlands in an ocean setting (World Heritage Committee, 2015).

An internationally significant illustration of the process of continental drift

Criterion
(viii)
• The rocks of Gros Morne National Park collectively present an internationally significant illustration of the process of tectonic plate interactions along the eastern coast of North America and contribute greatly to the body of knowledge and understanding of plate tectonics and the geological evolution of ancient mountain belts.
• In glacier-scoured highlands and spectacular fjords, glaciation has made visible the park’s many geological features. There are classic, textbook examples of monumental earth-building and modifying forces that are unique in terms of their clarity, expression, and ease of access.
• The area is geologically diverse with areas of Ordovician sedimentary rocks, Precambrian granite and gneiss, Palaeozoic serpentinized ultra-basic rocks, gabbros, volcanic and Lower Palaeozoic sedimentary rocks, exposed oceanic crust, mantle, a section of ancient Mohorovicic Discontinuity, and other distinctive geological features
(World Heritage Committee, 2015; Parks Canada, 2009).
Plant and faunal diversity
Gros Morne’s coastal location, climate, unique and varied geology and dramatic topography shaped by periods of glaciation over 2 million years have created a diversity of habitats, including an arctic-alpine environment on the plateau, boreal forest dominated by balsam fir on the slopes and inland valleys, a large area of serpentine barrens, and an extensive coastal lowland.

These support 36 distinct vegetation types and communities, with vascular species and bryophytes, representing about 60% of Newfoundland's insular flora, including approximately 100 species considered rare on the Island of Newfoundland. Faunal diversity resembles an oceanic rather than continental-shelf island and is markedly reduced compared with the mainland). Arctic hare, woodland caribou, and Newfoundland marten are three mammal species of particular interest in the park. Gros Morne is a significant breeding site for harlequin duck, blackpoll warbler, common tern and arctic tern, a nesting site for bald eagle, rock ptarmigan and American tree sparrow, and a stopover for migrating shore birds. Anadromous Atlantic salmon and arctic char are found in park waters and also in permanent freshwater form in certain landlocked lakes on the Long Range Mountains. (IUCN, 1987; Parks Canada, 2009)

Assessment information

Low Threat
Threats to the geological values of the site are low. Hyperabundance of moose has been a threat, however the moose management program has reduced moose densities to near the threshold identified for a healthy balsam fir forest ecosystem, and vegetation is showing some early signs of recovery. Concerns have been noted regarding the effects of snowmobiling on the values of the site, however it is currently unclear how this activity is impacting the OUV of the site and regulations are in place to manage this activity. Forest harvesting around the park is another current threat, but has declined in recent years, and deferrals have been put in place to the northeast of the park, a major hydro-electric transmission corridor further fragments ecosystems to the north and east of the park, also impacting on the site's natural beauty.
Utility / Service Lines
(Existing Electricity lines)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
Two high voltage hydro transmission lines (138 kV and 69 kV)—the only lines supplying the northern portion of the Great Northern Peninsula—run the length of the park lowlands. As trees are stunted by the coastal climate, the power lines, and the wide cut corridors, are visible for most of their length. These lines require multiple vehicle access points for maintenance. A telephone line also runs parallel to a hydro line in the sensitive Tablelands area, but has been decommissioned and is being removed (Parks Canada, 2020).
Housing/ Urban Areas
(New cottage and road/trail development)
Low Threat
Outside site
Cottage lots have been made available on enclave land (inholding) in the community of Rocky Harbour, which is surrounded by the park. This development is close to the base of Gros Morne Mountain. This area sees heavy all-terrain vehicle use—especially on wetlands, and the disruption may compromise important autumn feeding barrens for caribou, black bears, and moose. Development has so far been restricted to the enclave lands, but the development is visible from highlands within the park. Some cottages are along the shore of Deer Arm Pond, which is used by Atlantic salmon. There is pressure to allow motorized boats on the lake. As with other provincial cabin developments, there may be pressure in the future to upgrade and maintain the road and to provide hydroelectric service.
Tourism/ visitors/ recreation
(Incremental tourism infrastructure development)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Parks Canada has undertaken a major infrastructure program in national parks. In Gros Morne this has included widening a section of highway, expanding parking lots and campgrounds, diversifying accommodations, dredging a section of Western Brook Pond, and realigning trails.  In 2018 Parks Canada removed a low-impact boardwalk trail at Western Brook Pond and replaced it with a 4.8-meter-wide, hardened, gravel maintenance road of 3 km. Whilst it was noted that this was carried out without public consultation (CPAWS, 2018), Parks Canada provided information, maps and construction drawings on the Western Brook Pond project, through a number of available channels (IUCN Consultation, 2020). During the most recent management plan, the park also downgraded the protection of a portion the western shore of Western Brook Pond by rezoning it from Zone 3 (natural environment) to Zone 4—the same status as a park road. The park's intention to have motorized transport to move visitors from the parking lot to the wharf has been halted for the time being.
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species, Problematic Native Species
(Hyper-abundant introduced moose (Alces alces))
Low Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Introduced moose had been hyper-abundant and have no significant predators on the island of Newfoundland (wolves were extirpated in the 1930s). Moose browsing had reduced or stopped forest regeneration in a significant area of the park, resulting in balsam fir and mixed wood forests being converted to open areas dominated by grasses and shrubs, including exotic invasive species such as Canada thistle and coltsfoot. (>40 km2) (Burzynski et al., 2005; Parks Canada, 2009). GMNP began active management of what is now described as "a previously hyper-abundant moose population." Currently, the moose management program has reduced moose densities to near the threshold identified for a healthy balsam fir forest ecosystem and moose are no longer considered to be hyper-abundant. The 2019 management plan calls for the moose population in the park to be actively managed at the target density to maintain ecological integrity (Parks Canada, 2019). Therefore, this threat is assessed as low. 
Logging/ Wood Harvesting
(Local wood harvesting)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Wood harvesting for domestic use by local residents for two generations was a condition in the federal-provincial park establishment agreement. While this removes a relatively small amount of wood, the harvesting may put an additional strain on the park’s forest, which have been subject to other threats. Logging within the site has affected the look of the forest and communities, and provides an opportunity for invasive plants and animals to gain a foothold in disturbed habitat areas. However, this threat is managed under the Domestic Timber Harvest Integrated Management Plan for Gros Morne. In total ~20 ha per year of forest is cut in the park and harvesting in each area is managed based on ecologically sustainable yields, with each block assigned an annual allowable cut (AAC) identified through a timber supply analysis. Additionally, 25% of older forest in each block of annual allowable cut is protected (Parks Canada, 2020). There is some reportedly local pressure to extend cutting rights past the two-generation limit established by the federal-provincial agreement (IUCN Consultation, 2020). However, overall this is a low threat to the site's values. 
Tourism/ visitors/ recreation
(Snowmobile management)
Data Deficient
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Disturbance of the sites exceptional natural beauty as well as plant and faunal diversity due to snowmobiling in the site has been noted as a current concern (IUCN Consultation, 2020), particularly relating to the wilderness values with additional concerns on impacts to species such as Arctic hare and their associated habitat. In the last few years, hunters participating in the reduction of the moose population have been allowed to use snowmobiles in large portions of the park (IUCN Consultation, 2020). However, snowmobiling in Gros Morne National Park occurs as a result of a Federal-Provincial Agreement to establish the park and the snowmobile management plan was updated in 2017 and efforts continue to implement the plan. Snowmobilers in Gros Morne National Park who are not residents of local communities require a Public/Commercial Snowmobile Operator’s Permit in addition to a Park Entry Pass (Parks Canada, 2020) and the scale of snowmobiling in relation to the size of the park largely negates any air pollution concerns. The 2019 management plan calls for a 4,000-trip limit in highland areas and a snowmobile permit system to be implemented by 2024 (Parks Canada, 2019).
Logging/ Wood Harvesting
(Logging around the park)
Low Threat
Outside site
There was extensive logging along the southern and eastern boundaries of the park, affecting the viewscape both outside and inside the park, and connectivity for some migrating and dispersing species. This cutting has abated in recent years, although it is still occurring and is visible from route 430 and the scenic look-off. In 2014 the provincial government released a 10-year forest strategy that includes a deferral of industrial harvesting within a large intact landscape area adjacent to the northeast boundary of the park (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2014). This will help maintain landscape connectivity and caribou habitat, although the area has been transected by a major new electricity transmission corridor (Muskrat Falls development).
High Threat
Potential petroleum exploration activity in the vicinity of Gros Morne remains a possibility and would likely be of major consequence to the property’s exceptional natural beauty and biodiversity if it were to go ahead.
Changes in extent and duration of ice cover and in frost-free season due to climate change could affect the site’s ecosystems, and coastal erosion could impact its geological features.
Oil/ Gas exploration/development
(Oil exploration)
High Threat
Outside site
Potential petroleum exploration activity in the vicinity of Gros Morne remains a possibility and would be of major consequence to the property’s exceptional natural beauty and biodiversity if it were to go ahead. A 2013 proposal to drill within an enclave community surrounded by the park did not go ahead because the province announced an operational “pause” on any exploration involving hydraulic fracturing in late 2014, and the offshore regulatory authority did not renew the company’s exploration license. While this “pause” on hydraulic fracturing remains in place, there is no assurance it will be maintained in the long-term, nor does it apply to conventional oil and gas exploration. The report of the provincially appointed Fracking Review Panel (2016) has still not been officially acknowledged by the provincial government. Preliminary research shows that currents in the Gulf of St. Lawrence could transport spills from these projects to the park (Bourgault et al, 2014). While there is currently no opportunity to bid for licenses offshore directly adjacent to Gros Morne, there is no mechanism in place to prevent the bid system from re-opening this area in the future (UNESCO, 2018). Any proposed offshore exploratory drilling in the Western Newfoundland Offshore Area would first be subject to a project-specific environmental impact review assessment, as well as a regulatory review by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) prior to receiving any authorization to drill. The C-NLOPB has reiterated that the OUV of Gros Morne National Park will be a factor that must be addressed in any potential future requests for project-level environmental impact review assessments. The C-NLOPB has further committed to inviting Parks Canada to participate in the review of the next Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) update for the Western Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area (IUCN Consultation, 2020).

Petroleum industry activity along the Gros Morne coastline would likely compromise the integrity of the property’s outstanding natural beauty, while potential oil spills associated with exploration and development could damage the natural beauty and harm marine and coastal biodiversity. Public Attitudes towards Hydraulic Fracturing in Western Newfoundland are mixed (Martínez-Espiñeira, et al., 2019). The World Heritage Committee has recommended a reactive monitoring mission in decisions in 2016 and 2018 if the "pause" on oil exploration is lifted without putting in place appropriate measures (World Heritage Committee, 2016; 2018).
Habitat Shifting/ Alteration, Storms/Flooding
(Climate change)
High Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Outside site
Changes in extent and duration of ice cover and frost-free season could affect the site’s ecosystems.
Erosion from extreme weather events could impact coastal geological features.
Tourism/ visitors/ recreation
(Increasing pressure from tourism)
Data Deficient
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
GMNP is a highlight in the provincial tourism revenue. With an increase in visitation, the demand for more accessible trails ( i.e Western Brook Pond), new trails, new opportunities, and more people in the backcountry can have a negative impact on the ecological integrity of the park. Although NL has not experienced this as of yet, it is only a matter of time that we will begin to see the effects other sites have. Each year Western Brook Pond numbers are steadily climbing and will continue to do so.
Threats to the geological values of the site are low. The outstanding beauty of the coastline could be compromised by oil exploration in the future, if not effectively mitigated against through planning and management. Progress has been made in addressing the threat to native forest from hyper-abundant moose, and forest health has improved from poor to fair as a result of sustained managemet efforts. Snowmobiling has been reported as an issue affecting the site's values, however the effects on the OUV of the site are uncertain and the activity is subject to corresponding regulations updated in 2017. A major hydro-electric transmission corridor poses a low-level threat to the ecosystems of the site as well as it's natural beauty. Climate change carries the potential to alter the extent and duration of ice cover and in frost-free season, which could affect the site’s ecosystems, and coastal erosion could impact its geological features.
Management system
Mostly Effective
The management system is administered and implemented by Parks Canada through a new park management plan, which was tabled in Parliament in 2019, and includes explicit consideration of the OUV of the property (Parks Canada, 2019a). The plan outlines key strategies based on a clearly communicated vision (Parks Canada, 2019a). Development of the plan included extensive public consultation (Parks Canada, 2019c,d).
Effectiveness of management system
Mostly Effective
The effectiveness of the management system is yet to be determined fully, given the management plan has recently been renewed. However, given the well-formulated targets to achieving the objectives of the new management plan, which build on previous management activities, the management system can be considered mostly effective. Key priorities identified included actions aimed at improving the ecological integrity of the park through a continued focus on forest health with a sustained moose management program; enhanced efforts to prevent the extirpation of the Trout River salmon population; increased monitoring to understand stressors on Arctic hare, rock ptarmigan and caribou; managing visitor use in key areas of the park; as well as improvements to the condition of trails, privies and way-finding to address visitor concerns. The management plan is subject to a strategic environmental assessment that explicitly considers the two World Heritage criteria for which Gros Morne National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site (Parks Canada, 2019a).
Boundaries
Mostly Effective
The park boundary is demarcated in most high-use areas (the lowland), with boundary signage installed since 2017, where deemed necessary (IUCN Consultation, 2020). Parts of the eastern boundary are very hard to discern, but Parks Canada maintains that clearing a physical boundary would impact the landscape and have negligible conservation benefit. Managers of adjacent lands are reported to be well aware of the park’s boundary and spatial data are widely available for the public and land use planners. As noted elsewhere, there is no buffer zone for the property.
Integration into regional and national planning systems
Some Concern
The government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Parks Canada have formalized their long-standing, collaborative and regulatory relationship with the establishment of a new Federal-Provincial Land Use Committee for Gros Morne National Park, including the UNESCO World Heritage site (State Party of Canada, 2019). The formation of this committee should improve integration into regional planning systems through greater communication and cooperation between management and relevant provincial departments in regard to potential resource extraction activities around Gros Morne National Park. However, some concern also remains over the lack of a buffer zone around the site, despite repeated requests from the World Heritage Committee and stakeholders to form such zonation. There is also some concern that the Federal-Provincial Land Use Committee foresees no representation from other stakeholders such as communities that surround the park nor NGO's (IUCN Consultation, 2020). It is imperative that other stakeholders are engaged for transparency and inclusion in decisions.
Relationships with local people
Some Concern
The park encloses several communities, most employees live in these towns, and the park is one of the largest employers, both directly and indirectly. There are opportunities for communities and individuals to interact with park management and usually relationships are constructive for example development of the 2019 management plan included extensive public consultation (Parks Canada, 2019c,d). Parks Canada hosts a “Mayors Forum” approximately four times per year for mayors of enclave communities. The park co-operating association (a non-profit volunteer “friends” organization) helps to forge strong ties between people and the park. The snowmobile advisory committee now includes representation from the research community, currently from the School of Science and the Environment, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. There are representatives from Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, provincial tourism and skiers/snowshoers on the snowmobile advisory committee, in addition to representatives from the local enclave communities and the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation, however there is a lack of environmental NGOs in its membership (IUCN Consultation, 2020). Consultation is an important part of the site management plan development process (Parks Canada, 2019c;d) and there are a number of legal mandates relating to public consultation, including with indigenous communities, which are fulfilled by the management authority. However, concerns have been noted regarding a lack of consultation with some sectors in recent years, especially regarding infrastructure development (CPAWS, 2018). 
Legal framework
Some Concern
The legal framework for the park itself is strong, centering on the Canada National Parks Act and federal Species at Risk legislation. Parks Canada was obliged to subject all projects to evaluation under the 2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), and remains obliged to do so under the 2019 Impact Assessment Act (IAA). Completed, approved impacts assessments are available for all projects that had the potential to affect the environment, the public, cultural resources or Outstanding Universal Value of the park. However, there is currently uncertainty regarding legislation in place to prevent oil exploration from occurring in the community enclaves or in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which may significantly impact the site, and therefore remains of some concern until these issues are resolved (UNESCO, 2018) *see 'Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations' below for further details.
Law enforcement
Some Concern
There are only four full time enforcement positions for the Field Unit that includes Gros Morne National Park (which includes two very large national parks, a national park reserve, and three national historic sites over a distance of about 1,000 km). The park has created two snowmobile compliance positions to work in snowmobile areas, as well as a prevention officer largely focused on snowmobiling in winter (Parks Canada, 2020). During peak seasons, especially winter, additional law enforcement is acquired from other jurisdictions, when they are available, to aid in enforcement (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations
Some Concern
In 2014 the Committee acknowledged the province’s announcement of a "moratorium" on petroleum development using hydraulic fracturing, but noted that this did not provide long-term security for the site.  In 2016 the Committee issued a follow up decision noting that the 2014 recommendations had not been implemented, and disagreeing with Canada’s assessment that existing legislation and regulations provide adequate long-term protection for the property. The Committee reiterated its recommendation that a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) be completed, and that a buffer zone and wider protection measures be put in place before the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing is lifted. The “moratorium” referred to by the Committee is not a legal or long-term measure, but rather a ”pause” put in place as an operational decision of the Province’s Department of Natural Resources. This decision only applies to petroleum exploration using hydraulic fracturing, not to conventional oil and gas development (NLHFRP, 2016). In June 2016, a Panel examining hydraulic fracturing in Newfoundland and Labrador recommended that the operational “pause” on issuing licenses for petroleum exploration using hydraulic fracturing be continued. They also recommended that a buffer zone be created around Gros Morne National Park, citing overwhelming public support for the idea based on public opinion polling (NLHFRP, 2016). In the November 2019 state of conservation report submitted by the State Party, it reports that a Federal-Provincial Land Use Committee has been established to collaboratively manage the areas surrounding the property, thereby indicating a response to the Committee’s concerns on the need for a buffer zone (State Party of Canada, 2019). The State Party also reports that OUV was satisfactorily considered in the SEA (State Party of Canada, 2019). Parks Canada continues to work with the World Heritage Committee in response to their assessments. These latest updates are yet to be examined by the Committee so until a new Decision is adopted, these latest progress updates are not considered in the rating. 
Sustainable use
Mostly Effective
The Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism, a shared initiative of Gros Morne Co-operating Association and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, operates out of the park and trains tourism operators from throughout eastern Canada in sustainable techniques for communities. The park incorporates some “green” and sustainable techniques into its operations (solar powered fans, biological waste processing for washrooms, efficient heating and cooling systems, etc.), however have been some concerns noted regarding teh sustainability of snowmobile use in the site (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Sustainable finance
Data Deficient
Data deficient
Staff capacity, training, and development
Data Deficient
Data deficient
Education and interpretation programs
Mostly Effective
Education and interpretation programs are mostly effective. According to a visitor survey conducted in 2015, 92% of respondents were satisfied (4/5) or very satisfied (5/5) with the interpretation programs offered in the park.  These excellent results are comparable to the 2011 visitor survey results (IUCN Consultation, 2020). Gros Morne continues to be a partner in outdoor education programs, and while the provincial government has cut its outdoor education program, the Qalipu First Nation has joined as a partner. Many visitors interact with commercial and other non-Parks Canada staff through tour boats, the Bonne Bay Marine Station and other venues in and around the park.
Tourism and visitation management
Mostly Effective
Tourism and visitation management is mostly effective, but there is a need for sustainability with increased visitation - "hiking and walking" is one of the top activities for people visiting Gros Morne National Park. Work has been done on the park’s most popular trails to improve sustainability and a new urine diversion toilet will be piloted in 2020. Recent investment has benefited campgrounds within GMNP with upgrades including installation of semi-serviced sites, updated service facilities such as washrooms and shower buildings and new registration kiosks (Parks Canada, 2017). However, the sustainability of some of the upgrades, such as the conversion of the boardwalk path at Western Brook Pond into a 3 km gravel road has raised concern that some changes 'have resulted in outcomes beyond simple rehabilitation of existing infrastructure' with the development footprint increasing significantly (CPAWS, 2018). However, vegetation restoration along the margins of the trail have been initiated  (IUCN Consultation, 2020). There is concern that since the park depends on revenue generated by the Western Brook Pond boat concessions, the conversion of Western Brook Pond trail to an access road was undertaken to increase revenue from a boat tour that already suffers from overcrowding. A Strategic Tourism Areas and Regions (STAR) group has been established to integrate regional tourism stakeholders (Parks Canada, 2020).
Monitoring
Mostly Effective
There is a monitoring system in place, with results most recently being presented in the 2017 State of the Park report (Parks Canada, 2017). The report includes a comprehensive Ecological Integrity Monitoring program to assess status and trends in the ecological integrity of park ecosystems. State of park reports are produced as required to support park management planning. Management effectiveness monitoring is conducted as required, and guides the implementation of park management and restoration programs (e.g. see CoRe forest health report). However, monitoring activities center mostly around the ecological values of the site as well as various aspects of management and built infrastructure, rather than the geological and scenic values which comprise it's OUV, and could perhaps improve in this regard through the specific development of indicators to monitor these values in addition to the ecological and management related monitoring. Where resources are deemed inadequate to meet an emerging need, special funding is sought to support staff and financial needs of projects (IUCN Consultation, 2020).
Research
Mostly Effective
Mostly effective
The management system is administered and implemented by Parks Canada through a new park management plan, which was tabled in Parliament in 2019, and includes explicit consideration of the OUV of the property (Parks Canada, 2019a). The management system is deemed mostly effective, albeit yet to be determined fully given the recent renewal of the management plan. The legal protection and management framework is strong and the site engages with neighbouring communities, although the reported lack of consultation from certain sectors surrounding recently built infrastructure which will significantly increase the development footprint is somewhat concerning, despite assurances on behalf of the management regarding consultation. An effective monitoring system is in place, which is supported by research conducted on ecological indicators, however more focus could be given to the geological values for which the site is inscribed on the World Heritage list. Concern also remains over the ability to enforce regulations relating to the site's conservation, with only four full time positions in the field unit, whose responsibilities also cover additional parks. The World Heritage Committee’s decision recommending Canada put in place a buffer zone around the park has not been implemented, and the site remains subject to multiple requests of the State Party to address issues arising from oil exploration and potential extractive activities which may negatively impact the OUV of the site. Overall, the protection and management of the site is of some concern due to these outstanding issues. 
Assessment of the effectiveness of protection and management in addressing threats outside the site
Some Concern
The World Heritage Committee’s decision recommending that Canada put in place a buffer zone around the park to safeguard the site from potential petroleum exploration activities has not been implemented. There have been significant issues in the institutional mechanisms for cooperatively managing the area around the park, including coastal areas. Since the park boundary does not protect the marine environment of the coast and bays that surround the park, it would be possible for activities to proceed in these areas which may negatively impact the values of the site, without prior consideration of these effects. However, a Federal-Provincial Land Use Committee has recently been established to address some of these issues.
World Heritage values

An area of exceptional natural beauty

Low Concern
Trend
Stable
Scenic values are currently well-preserved, however, there is a possibility that oil and gas development could compromise these values in the future (UNESCO, 2018). In winter, snowmobiling activity is compromising the experience of the natural beauty for some non-motorized recreational users (Parks Canada, 2019a) as well as recent hiking infrastructure raising concerns as to their development footprint (CPAWS, 2018). However, the exceptional natural beauty of the site is maintained overall due to management action targetted at these threats. 

An internationally significant illustration of the process of continental drift

Good
Trend
Stable
The geological values of the site are well preserved. The main drivers of change displayed at the site remain those of 'gravitational instability, heavy precipitation, wave and storm action, frost heaving, and other background processes' (Berger, 2017), which can be considered a part of the natural value of the site itself. 
Assessment of the current state and trend of World Heritage values
Low Concern
Trend
Stable
Geological values and the majority of scenic values are well-preserved and not being impacted by any serious threats. Threats which are occurring are subject to targetted management for the most part. However, the potential for oil and gas exploration which may affect the site's values is yet to be addressed in full, and subject to a number of requests from the World Heritage Committee (World Heritage Committee, 2018).
Assessment of the current state and trend of other important biodiversity values
High Concern
Trend
Stable
Biodiversity values have been impacted by hyper-abundant moose and invasive exotic plants, although there are early signs of improvement due to management measures. To address hyper-abundant moose, Parks Canada conducted several years of research and public consultations, and in 2011 initiated a program to reduce moose densities in order to restore forest health. The moose population is now at target density established to prevent impacts on park forests, and the forest ecosystem is showing strong signs of recovery. The park documented a significant decline in Arctic hare in 2015, though a 2017 survey showed some improvement. There is concern about the well-being of caribou populations, and as such a caribou management program has been initiated, which includes research, Indigenous knowledge, management planning, and threat mitigation (IUCN Consultation, 2020).

Additional information

Outdoor recreation and tourism
Gros Morne is the most important tourism draw in western Newfoundland, and is the centerpiece of the province’s billion dollar plus tourism industry. In 2015 there were 207,000 visitors to Gros Morne, an increase of 12.5% over the previous year, and more than double the visitation at any other destination in the province (NLHFRP, 2016). The direct and indirect effects on the economy of the Island are of major importance. Scenes within the park have been used as the advertising icons for the province for many years. The park continues to attract visitors from around the world.
Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism to the property remain to be seen.
Traditional agriculture
Certain local residents have the right to personal harvest of firewood, boat building timbers, and snowshoe hare.
Legal subsistence hunting of wild game
Being able to assist the park in the removal of over-abundant moose has been beneficial to local and regional hunters and their families.
Direct employment
The park is one of the major employers in the region, and has led to the relative stability of enclave communities compared to the steady depopulation of small towns elsewhere in the region.
History and tradition,
Sacred natural sites or landscapes,
Cultural identity and sense of belonging
Gros Morne has become a cultural hub in western Newfoundland, hosting annual festivals and events featuring artists, writers, musicians, theatre, much of which is inspired by the beauty of the land and seascape, and the traditional way of life on the west coast of Newfoundland.
The site provides significant direct and indirect economic benefits to the region, is the centrepiece of Newfoundland and Labrador's billion dollar tourism industry, and has become a centre for arts and culture in western Newfoundland.
Organization Brief description of Active Projects Website
1 Parks Canada Moose management program
http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/progs/np-pn/sf-fh/index.aspx
2 Parks Canada Piping plover nest site protection
.
3 Parks Canada Resident winter bird monitoring
4 Parks Canada Brook trout thermal habitat assessment
5 Parks Canada Restoration of Atlantic salmon in Trout River (2019-2023)
6 Parks Canada Caribou management program (2019-2023)
7 Parks Canada Implementation of SARA (Species at Risk Act) action plan (2016-ongoing).

References

References
1
Berger, A. (2017). Tracking rapid landscape change with repeated photography, Gros Morne National Park, Canada. Atlantic Geology, 53, 115 - 126. https://doi.org/10.4138/atlgeol.2017.005
2
Bourgualt, D., Cyr, F., Dumont, D. and Carter, A. (2014) Numerical stimulations of the spread of floating passive tracer released at Old Harry. Environmental Research Letters 9(5). http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/9/5/054…
3
Burzynski, M, Knight T, Gerrow S, Hoffman J, Thompson R, Deering P, Major D, Taylor S, Wentzell C, and Simpson A. (2005) State of the Park Report Gros Morne National Park of Canada; an Assessment of Ecological Integrity. Parks Canada, GMNP. 21 pp.
4
CPAWS. (2018). CPAWS Statement on Changes to Western Brook Pond Trail and Infrastructures in Gros Morne. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. https://cpaws.org/cpaws-statement-on-changes-to-western-bro…
5
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (2014) Provincial Sustainable Forest Management Strategy, 2014-2014. .
6
IUCN (1987) World Heritage Nomination - IUCN Technical Evaluation, Gros Morne National Park (Canada). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. .
7
Martinez-Espineira, R., Garcia-Valiñas, M. & Matesanz Gómez, D. (2019). Public Attitudes towards Hydraulic Fracturing in Western Newfoundland. Energy Economics. doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2019.104492
8
NLHFRP (2016) Unconventional Opportunities and Challenges: Results of the public review of the implications of hydraulic fracturing operations in Western Newfoundland. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel .
9
Nalcor Energy [website] Muskrat Falls Project Overview.
10
Parks Canada (2005) Public and Commercial Snowmobile Working Group, Gros Morne National Park, Management Plan. 12 pp.
11
Parks Canada (2009) Gros Morne National Park of Canada Management Plan. .
12
Parks Canada. (2017). Gros Morne National Park of Canada: State of the Park Assessment. 
13
Parks Canada. (2019a). Gros Morne National Park Management Plan 2019. [online] Available at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/info/plan (Accessed 11 October 2019).
14
Parks Canada. (2019b). Project-level assessment under the Impact Assessment Act [online] https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/nature/eie-eia/itm1/itm1b
15
Parks Canada. (2019c). What We Heard. Gros Morne National Park Management Plan Review Phase 1 Consultation. [online] Available at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/info/plan (Accessed 11 October 2019).
16
Parks Canada. (2019d). What We Heard II. Gros Morne National Park Management Plan Review Phase 2 Consultation. [online] Available at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/info/plan (Accessed 11 October 2019).
17
Parks Canada. (2019e). Gros Morne National Park. [online] Available at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nl/grosmorne (Accessed 11 October 2019).
18
Parks Canada. (2020). Parks Canada updates on the 2017 Conservation Outlook Assessment. Submitted to IUCN
19
Parks Canada. 2017. Information Centre for Ecosystems (ICE)
20
State Party of Canada. (2017). Report of the State Party to the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of the Gros Morne National Park (Canada). [online] Parks Canada. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/419/documents/ (Accessed 11 October 2019).
21
State Party of Canada. (2019). Report of the State Party to the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of the Gros Morne National Park (Canada). [online] Parks Canada. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/419/documents/ (Accessed 1 June 2020).
22
UNESCO (2016) Report on the State of Conservation of Gros Morne National Park. State of Conservation Information System of the World Heritage Centre. .
23
UNESCO. (2018). Report on the State of Conservation of Gros Morne National Park, Canada. State of Conservation Information System of the World Heritage Centre. [online] Paris, France: UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Available at:  https://whc.unesco.org/en/soc/3666 (Accessed 11 October 2019).
24
World Heritage Committee (2015) Decision 39 COM 8E Gros Morne National Park (Canada) Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value. Bonn, Germany. .
25
World Heritage Committee (2016) Decision 40 COM 7B.94. Gros Morne National Park (Canada). Istanbul, Turkey. .

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