Gros Morne oil fracking threat flagged as major concern: CPAWS’ 2013 State of Canada’s Parks Report

  • Published on Jul 16 2013 |
  • This article is tagged as: parks, News

St. John’s – In the run-up to Canada Parks Day on the 3rd Saturday in July, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is releasing its fifth annual report on how our parks are faring. The report shows that progress on creating new parks and protecting existing ones has been uneven across the country over the past 12 months.
 

“In Newfoundland and Labrador, we are deeply concerned over a proposal to drill and “frack” for oil within metres of Gros Morne National Park.   If this proposal is approved, it will present a serious risk to the park’s ecosystems. It will also jeopardize a thriving local tourism economy, and could put Gros Morne’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at risk,” says CPAWS-NL Co-Executive Director Tanya Edwards.
 

Concern about Gros Morne’s future received prominent billing in CPAWS’ report this year. To ensure that the park’s pristine natural beauty and ecosystems and the region’s sustainable tourism industry are protected for future generations, CPAWS is calling for the area around the park to be kept permanently free of industrial development, including any oil and gas exploration and development.
CPAWS has joined with concerned local citizens to launch a public campaign this summer to “Save Gros Morne”. They are providing information to tourists visiting the park area and alerting nearly 100,000 people across Canada through email and social media networks to the risk that fracking poses to Gros Morne, encouraging them to voice their concerns at http://www.savegrosmorne.ca
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“We are extremely concerned about the threat of an industrial activity like oil fracking to Gros Morne. Local people and businesses have worked hard to create a thriving cultural and tourism-based economy within the park, and heavy industrial development like this could jeopardize all of this,” says businessman Ken Thomas, co-owner of Seaside Suites in Woody Point.
 

CPAWS noted that on the bright side, in another part of the country, Canada’s largest provincial park was created in the past year – called Tursujuq – in Nunavik, northern Quebec. However CPAWS also warns that problematic trends continue in many areas, including inappropriate industrial and commercial developments, budget cutbacks to national parks and weakening commitments in some jurisdictions to expanding parklands.   CPAWS has also identified opportunities across Canada where governments could take action to shift these trends in a more positive direction over the next year.
 

CPAWS has been issuing an annual report on the state of Canada’s parks since 2008. The first report lauded the rate of new parks creation by the federal government that year. Subsequent reports noted the slowdown in parks creation, the need to increase the number of marine protected areas, and some inappropriate developments that were starting to be noted.

 

View full report here
 

For interviews, contact: Tanya Edwards, tedwards@cpaws.org,  ph: (709) 726-5800
 

CPAWS is Canada’s voice for wilderness. Since 1963 we’ve led in creating over two-thirds of Canada’s protected areas. That amounts to about half a million square kilometres – an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory! Our vision is that Canada will protect at least half of our public land and water. As a national charity with 13 chapters, 65,000 supporters and hundreds of volunteers, CPAWS works collaboratively with governments, local communities, industry and indigenous peoples to protect our country’s amazing natural places.