|Parks and Protected Areas
Mealy Mountains National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador
Nature Canada has worked for over 15 years to establish Canada's next national park in the Mealy Mountains of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Mealy Mountains rise dramatically from the shores of Lake Melville in southeastern Labrador. Reaching heights of more than one kilometre, they are an island of arctic tundra surrounded by boreal forests and coastal seascapes.
Several types of ecosystems blend in this mosaic of northern wilderness. The majestic Mealy Mountains region is characterized by wild lakes and rivers, glacier-worn mountains, subalpine plateaus, bogs and fens, marine coasts, salt-swept islands, sandspits, coastal plains and boreal forests. The region is home to some of Labrador's most pristine wetlands and Atlantic salmon habitat, and one of North America's finest wild rivers - the Eagle River - runs through them.
On February 5, 2010 the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador announced their commitment to establish a new national park reserve of approximately 10,700 square kilometres within the Mealy Mountains region. The park will be the largest national park in eastern Canada, and larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite parks combined. The provincial government also announced its intent to establish a waterway provincial park to protect the Eagle River. Together, these areas represent over 13,000 square kilometres of protected eastern boreal habitat. The proposed park boundaries were accepted from recommendations submitted by a long-standing Steering Committee.
The parks will serve as a large anchor of protected boreal forest, wetland and tundra along the Atlantic Flyway, an important breeding ground and migration route for many arctic bird species heading to wintering grounds in the south – some as far as South America. Species breeding in or migrating through the park include Peregrine Falcon (nationally Threatened), Least Sandpiper, Rusty Blackbird (Special Concern), Blackpoll Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher (provincially Threatened) and Arctic Tern.
Three Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are included within the proposed park boundaries. These IBAs support globally significant concentrations of breeding Harlequin Duck and Common Eider. Additionally, large concentrations of Black Scoter and Surf Scoter congregate there to moult.
The Mealy Mountains are a global treasure worth preserving.
2. The establishment of a national park here will preserve the environmental, cultural and ecological integrity of several treasured natural landscapes, including five ecoregions that are not represented by any other national park in Canada.
3. A national park acts as an economic driver for local communities, such as Cartwright, in part through tourism. Adventure and discovery await the hardy nature enthusiast here. Wilderness experiences could include world-class canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, coastal walks, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and wildlife photography.
4. Labrador has many opportunities for forestry, mining and power development outside the proposed national park. Establishing this protected space means there will always be some part of the land left for the people of Labrador.
5. The Mealy Mountains are steeped in the traditional history of the first peoples of the land. For countless generations, the Labrador Innu have been sustained off this land they call Akamiuapishku. The Labrador Inuit and Labrador Metis have strong cultural and subsistence ties to the area.
6. Nine offshore Important Bird Areas (IBAs) provide essential habitat for staging, moulting and migrating waterfowl, and breeding habitat for colonial seabirds and Common Eiders. The colonies of Razorbill and Atlantic Puffin are among the largest in North America.
7. Mealy Mountains are home to some of Labrador's most pristine wetlands and Salmon and Brook Trout habitat. The region provides a haven for a population of Federally and Provincially threatened Woodland Caribou, along with Moose, Black Bear, Osprey, Bald Eagle and Harlequin Duck populations. Marine mammals abound in the coastal waters, including six species of seals and sixteen species of dolphins and whales, of which the Endangered Atlantic population of Blue Whale is one.