Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Anti-fracking buffer needed around Gros Morne park, UNESCO urges Ottawa

The sun sets behind the mountains in Woody Point near Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987 because of its exceptional natural scenic beauty and geological features.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is encouraging the federal government to create a permanent buffer zone to protect Gros Morne National Park from hydraulic fracturing.

The committee published recommendations about the park in western Newfoundland on Wednesday after a meeting held in Doha, Qatar.

The decision comes in response to concerns from conservation groups about the possibility that fracking for oil and gas might happen near the park.

Story continues below advertisement

Newfoundland and Labrador has placed a moratorium on all hydraulic fracturing applications pending a review.

Eric Hebert Daly, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, says the next step is for Ottawa to act on the UNESCO recommendation and create permanent protection for the park.

Gros Morne was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987 because of its exceptional natural scenic beauty and geological features.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, involves pumping water, nitrogen, sand and chemical additives at high pressure to fracture shale rock formations and allow gas or oil to flow through well bores to the surface. It's increasingly used across Canada and the United States as energy demands grow while conventional sources wane.

The prospect of drilling near Gros Morne, a spectacular hiker's paradise, set off intense debate. It also raised alarms about groundwater pollution and other risks.

It's believed Newfoundland's west coast has deep shale formations that hold oil – unlike more shallow coalbed gas deposits in western Canada and parts of the United States.

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.