Monitoring of spruce budworm shows that an outbreak is developing along the west coast of Newfoundland, including within Gros Morne National Park. This native forest insect feeds mainly on balsam fir and white spruce, and to a lesser extent on black spruce. This can lead to the death of trees after several consecutive years of severe defoliation and mature forests are generally harder hit than young ones.   The current outbreak could be more severe and potentially affect areas that would not have been impacted in the past because of climate change and human impacts on the landscape.

Spruce budworm outbreaks are an important part of the natural forest cycle in Gros Morne National Park. Insect disturbance is responsible for opening up gaps in the canopy so new trees can start to grow. Maintaining an appropriate amount of natural disturbance creates a patchwork of young and old forest across the landscape, and this helps ensure that all wildlife species can meet their habitat needs.

Parks Canada has received a request from the provincial government to allow Gros Morne National Park to be included in an Early Intervention Budworm Control Program from 2021 onwards. There is concern that the national park could act as a source of spruce budworm that spreads to neighbouring lands. This request is now being considered by Parks Canada.

Parks Canada’s decision on whether or not to allow spraying in the national park will be informed by Indigenous, stakeholder and public consultation and based on the best available evidence, including:

  • a technical/scientific review to assess how the potential intervention would affect the ecosystem; and
  • consultation with groups and individuals to help Parks Canada better understand the socio-economic and other impacts on Indigenous and other communities, including adjacent land owners and national park users.

Three virtual public information sessions will be held:

  • April 12th at 7 pm (English session);
  • April 13th at 3:30 pm (Bilingual session); and
  • April 14th at 10:30 am (English session)

To register for one of these public information sessions, please email us at pc.grosmorneconsultations.pc@canada.ca. We also invite you to share your opinion and feedback on this subject with us on or before April 18, 2021.

We want to hear from you:

  1. Please share your feedback on what else, if anything, Parks Canada should consider in its decision-making process; and
  2. Please tell us how you would be affected if a spruce budworm control program is carried out, or is not carried out, in Gros Morne National Park.

Please send your responses and input to pc.grosmorneconsultations.pc@canada.ca, or by mail to:

RE: Spruce Budworm Consultations

Gros Morne National Park
P.O. Box 130
Rocky Harbour, NL A0K 4N0

If the initial consultation and analysis supports considering a spray program, there will be additional public consultation as part of a Detailed Impact Assessment process. 

For more information on the Spruce Budworm please visit Natural Resource Canada's website.