Boyd’s Cove Beothuk Site, Newfoundland

Beothuk Memorial

Beothuk Memorial at Boyd’s Cove, Newfoundland, August 2013

This photo is of a memorial to the Beothuk created in part by visitors to the historic site at Boyd’s Cove.  The Beothuk were an indigenous people who lived in what is now Newfoundland.  At around the time that European settlers began arriving, it’s estimated there were fewer than 1000 Beothuk alive.  They were hunters and fishers who went extinct by the early 1800s.  From what I can make out without doing an extensive study, there were combined factors leading to the disappearance of the Beothuk.  These include violent confrontations with European settlers, the Beothuk’s dislocation by the settlers which led to starvation and the illnesses transmitted by the settlers.

The Boyd’s Cove Beothuk Interpretive Centre is on the site of a precontact village from around 1650 – 1720.  After viewing the historical displays, we went to the memorial area, adding shells or other objects provided for visitors.  I thought about forgotten people on whose lives we walk, as it were, unknowing.

Green Point Coastal Trail, Gros Morne National Park

Coastal Trail

Coastal Trail in Gros Morne Park, August 2013

Our first attempt to go on the boat tour of the freshwater fiord in Gros Morne did not go as scheduled because of torrents of rain and lightning.  However, once the weather cleared, we went on a hike on the Coastal Trail near Green Point,  south of the fiord.  This cobbled beach trail is flat and runs right along the coast off the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  We saw marshy ponds and passed tuckamore forests.  Tuckamore is the Newfoundland word for stunted spruce and balsam fir trees that grow by the coast and in mountainous areas.


Tuckamore along the Coastal Trail, Newfoundland, August 2013

Coastal Trail

On the Coastal Trail, August 2013

We did not take the full 6 km return hike, because we could see more thunderstorms brewing in the distance and travelling toward us. Since we were on totally open ground, we felt it was safest to turn around.  We were among several other hikers, all of us doing the return hike in record time.  This trail has stayed with me for its haunting atmosphere.  I found it of great beauty.

Coastal Trail

Thunderstorms approaching–Coastal Trail, August 2013

Newfoundland Places Temporary Moratorium on Fracking

Last summer, before going to Newfoundland, we heard that fracking was being proposed off of Newfoundland’s west coast, near Gros Morne National Park. The photo in this post is from a trail in the park a bit north of the proposed fracking site. 

Because of the chemicals, sand and large amounts of water used in fracking, we wondered how  residents of Newfoundland felt about this. When we were in the province, we heard opposition to the plan from B & B hosts and people sitting near us in restaurants having lively discussions about the dangers and risks of fracking. While in the Gros Morne area, we also came upon a petition opposing the plan.  And I’d already heard that UNESCO had voiced serious concerns because fracking near Gros Morne, a World Heritage Site, could put the site at risk.

Coastal Trail

Coastal Trail, Gros Morne Park, Newfoundland, August 2013

Then, earlier this week I was glad to hear that the Newfoundland government had placed a moratorium on fracking in the province until it was satisfied that it would be safe for the environment and the health of people.  The government plans to hold a review and consult with residents.  This sounds like a good first step.  I’ll be following this in the news to see further developments.

Freshwater Fjord, Gros Morne National Park

Freshwater Fjord

Freshwater Fjord, Western Brook Pond, Newfoundland, August 2013

In August when we were in Newfoundland, we travelled to Gros Morne National Park in the western part of the province.  Gros Morne is a large, extremely beautiful park with a great variety of land and sea scapes. The park has been designated a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Freshwater Fjord

On the tour of the freshwater fjord, August 2013

We had heard that we must go see the freshwater fjord in Western Brook Pond while we were in Gros Morne. We took everyone’s advice and booked a two hour boat tour on the Pond.  

Fjords are long, narrow inlets in the sea with high cliffs arising on each side. The steep cliffs were carved out of rock by glaciers from former ice ages. Western Brook Pond once was connected to the ocean but it was cut off from it after the glaciers melted and the land, having less weight upon it, rebounded.

Freshwater Fjord

On the boat tour of the freshwater fjord, August 2013

We had a sunny day with a bit of wind on the lake, enough to regularly splash those of us standing excitedly at the bow to get great views of the cliffs as we travelled into their midst.  Another experience of profound beauty in Newfoundland.

Freshwater Fjords

Freshwater Fjord in Newfoundland, August 2013