Gros Morne National Park is lies within the Canadian National Parks system on the western side of the island of Newfoundland. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site. The park is the second largest, in the region known as Atlantic Canada, covering almost 700 square miles (1,800 square km). It is known for its scenery, wildlife, and natural beauty as well as its status as the location of numerous important historical and archaeological sites relating to the history of human habitation in this part of Canada.
The terrain of Gros Morne National Park is an excellent example of the process of plate tectonics. Geologists are able to use many of the features of this park and the data they obtain from them to show how plate tectonics shapes the Earth through the formation of new rock at continental rifts and the upheaval of portions of the Earth's crust from the sea floor. This area is a perfect example of how these forces shaped the Earth in past eras.
Glacial forces from past ice ages have further sculpted and shaped the landscape, further illustrating how natural forces above ground continue to alter what was created by the forces within the Earth. Together, these forces have created a diverse landscape of mountains, alpine highlands, cliffs, fjords, and valleys. Numerous waterfalls, a result of the glaciers which carved the landscape during past ice ages, can be found here, as well as a highly varied coastal region with twisting inlets, sandy beaches, and rocky cliffs.
Visitors to this area are also attracted by the diversity and beauty of life in Gros Morne National Park. Tundra landscape, forest, wetlands, scrublands, and other features can all be found here. The park is home to many species of animals and is a nesting areas for many types of birds. Conifers, particularly spruce and fir species, dominate the forested areas, although others species such as birch and alder can be found as well. The waters around park are also popular for watching marine mammals such as seals and whales.
Human history plays an important role in Gros Morne National Park as well. Archaeologists have documented numerous sites of significance that show the area as having been inhabited by various groups for thousands of years, dating back to at least 3000 B.C. More recent historic sites indicate occupation by native North Americans up to 1,000 years ago, subsequent colonization by Europeans, and historic fishing villages dating from the 18th century.