Local News

The Bay of Islands Ophiolites

The second installment of the IAT Natural Heritage series is from Beyond Ktaadn's Eastern Alpine Guide, compiled and written by Mike Jones (IAT North America Alpine Ecologist), Liz Willey, and Marilyn Anions, with photos by IATNL.  The Guide can be purchased in Corner Brook at Island Treasures, or on Amazon.com.


Newfoundland's Bay of Islands Ophiolites

It’s only about two hours from the fogbound ferry terminal at Port-aux-Basques up the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast, to the logging roads that lead into the mountains surrounding the Bay of Islands. There are four mountain ranges in all: broad, ocean-front mesas with enormous alpine tablelands, encompassing little-known but spectacular ranges known as the Lewis Hills, Blow Me Down Mountain, North Arm Hills, and Tablelands.


The island of Newfoundland rises to its highest point near the center of the Lewis Hills, at a windswept and lonely dome known as The Cabox. The Cabox’s westerly vantage takes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Port au Port Peninsula to the North Arm Hills. Several vantage points along the western rim of the Lewis Hills tableland peer down vertically to the ocean, 600 meters (2,000 feet) below. These vistas are vivid testament that in Newfoundland, spectacular mountain scenery can exist at elevations under 1000 meters.

North Arm Hills from Cape Blow Me Down


The four mountain ranges can be divided into two pairs at the Bay of Islands, itself one of the most identifiable features on the western coastline of Newfoundland. The Lewis Hills and Blow Me Down Mountain form the southern bloc (roughly, the area southwest of the city of Corner Brook.) The northern bloc (northwest of Corner Brook and south of Bonne Bay near Gros Morne) includes the remote North Arm Hills and world-famous Tablelands, which are protected within Gros Morne National Park. Each mountain supports tens of thousands of hectares of boreal, subalpine, alpine, and serpentine wilderness. ....


To learn about Newfoundland's Bay of Islands Ophiolites, go to www.iat-sia.org

.... or take a walk along Western Newfoundland's IATNL.