Gros Morne National Park is the brilliant draw that pulls tourists from across the planet to western Newfoundland. Gros Morne is a major economic generator in western Newfoundland, and a substantial part of the $205-million-a-year tourism sector of western Newfoundland. (In fact, NDP member of the House of Assembly George Murphy puts west coast tourism at $229 million for 2012).
Hundreds of jobs in western Newfoundland tourism keep the communities from Port aux Basques to St. Anthony alive.
Either from Gros Morne, or on their way there, tourists explore these other places along the coast. The bed and breakfasts, restaurants, hotels, motels, beaches, parks, festivals, craft shops, kayak tours, whale-watching tours, iceberg tours of western Newfoundland and the Great Northern Peninsula are full of Gros Morne visitors. These communities all surprise and astound the visitor along their journey, but those traveller’s ultimate goal is the stunning United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated beauty of Gros Morne.
Many in the province are not aware that Shoal Point Energy and Black Spruce Exploration Corp. have proposed drilling possibly upwards of dozens of oil wells and fracking targets along the coast of Gros Morne and in one of its communities.
Gros Morne National Park could lose its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation because of this, just as other UNESCO designations have been lost when development has ruined the inherent beauty and meaning of a place.
If Gros Morne loses its UNESCO designation because of drilling and fracking within its boundaries, what does this mean for the wider economy of western Newfoundland?
Where will we and our kids be working and who will be living in our communities if the tourism industry withers? What will have happened to our businesses?
Bonne Bay, Gros Morne