The Canadian federal government has decided to take 11,000 square kilometres of boreal forest in the Mealy Mountains area of Newfoundland and Labrador and turn it into a national park.
The region is home to several threatened species, including caribou, moose, black bears, and harlequin ducks, and it’s hoped the new designation will protect this wildlife while also preserving the area’s traditional culture. People here live close to the land, chopping wood, hunting, trapping, and fishing.
There are also plans put forward by the provincial government to establish a waterway provincial park along the Eagle River, which runs next to the national park. Together, these parks will total 13,000 square kilometres of protected landscape.
That’s a lot of territory.
To put it in perspective: Mealy Mountains National Park will become Atlantic Canada’s largest park and will be bigger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined.
The Canadian Boreal Initiative has long recognized the importance of preserving the boreal forests of Canada.
Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories have already started conservation planning to cover a total of 200 million acres, stretching from Newfoundland and Labrador to Alaska and exceeding the Amazon Rainforest in size and carbon storage.
And, with the smaller provincial park added on, this reserve is going to have some serious outdoors potential. According to the Protected Areas Association, Mealy Mountains should attract plenty of paddlers, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, hikers, and wildlife photographers.
The federal government was smart to initiate such a massive undertaking, and let’s hope the result is an influx of tourism to this gorgeous, under-appreciated part of Canada.
Perhaps Mealy Mountains will make Matador’s next list of the Seven Best National Parks for Visiting Old Growth Forests.