Horace Crocker hasn't been told why rock is being processed and removed from the base of the Tablelands. He’s not likely going to accept any reason.
The mayor of Trout River says he is echoing the concerns expressed by other residents of his town in voicing opposition to the work being done.
For the past month or so, a small excavator, rock carrier and stone crusher have been situated just off Route 431, the highway that runs through Trout River Gulch connecting the town to Woody Point and the rest of Gros Morne National Park.
The Tablelands is an iconic mountain range within the park, renowned as one of the few places on the planet where the Earth’s mantle protrudes above the surface of the ground.
Stone from the base of the mountain near Dry Brook, at around the halfway point of the gulch, is being crushed and removed.
“People have been asking me, but I know very little about what’s going on there,” Crocker said in an interview Friday. “It’s all a big secret. Maybe they are trying to move The Tablelands to the north side of Bonne Bay one rock at a time.”
While obviously being facetious, Crocker was expressing frustration at what he feels is unfair treatment of the south side of Bonne Bay by Parks Canada when it comes to investment and development.
The Western Star asked Parks Canada for information and an interview about why the rock was being processed and removed from the site. No one was made available for an interview, but Parks Canada did confirm that the stone was being used to fix up sections of the Green Gardens trail accessible along the same stretch of highway through Trout River Gulch.
Crocker said it really doesn’t matter where the rock is headed, however. He said removing any material from the area for any reason goes against the conservation ideals of the national park and the reasons why Gros Morne is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Nobody for a minute would take any rock from that area,” said Crocker. “I can’t leave Trout River, go up in the gulch and bring back some rock.
"If Parks Canada saw some brown rock in my driveway, I’d be charged for it.”
What Parks Canada’s website says about trail work in Gros Morne National Park
Planned trail reconstruction
Parks Canada will continue to upgrade some of Gros Morne’s most iconic trails in 2018. Design work began in 2016 and construction began in 2017. Making the most of advances in trail design and construction expertise and technology, we will create safer, more enjoyable and sustainable trails.
Work scheduled for 2018 includes:
- A realignment of the Lookout Trail, Green Gardens Trail, and Gros Morne Mountain Trail to address effects of erosion, improve the sustainability of these trails, reduce maintenance, and improve visitor experience.
- Steep grades will be lowered, allowing for more gradual climbs.
- Improved trail treads, and improved drainage will create safer and drier conditions – though waterproof hiking boots are always the best option.
- Boardwalks and stairs will be eliminated in most areas as poorly drained areas and sensitive terrain are avoided.
- New sections will open up new views for hikers to enjoy.
Source: Parks Canada