Locally known as Big Falls Park, Sir Richard Squires Memorial Park is located approximately 36 kilometres northeast of Deer Lake along Highway No. 422. The park is situated on the scenic Humber River and is a popular place for salmon angling. Sir Richard Squires Memorial Park was established in 1954 as the first Provincial Park in Newfoundland. It was opened to the public in July 1959. The park is named in honour of Sir Richard Squires the Prime Minister of Newfoundland from 1919 to 1923 and 1928 to 1932. During his first term in office, Squires successfully arranged the construction of a paper mill in Corner Brook. A tiny settlement at that time, Corner Brook has grown to be the second largest city in Newfoundland. Knighthood was bestowed upon Squires in 1921 for his achievements.
Please note this map is for illustrative purposes only. The park boundary may not be accurately portrayed.
An assortment of evergreen and broad-leaved trees can be found in the park, including: larch, birch, fir and spruce. Many different types of flowers such as the pitcher plant (floral emblem of Newfoundland), indian pipe, labrador tea and pearly everlasting are scattered throughout the area.
The park provides suitable habitat for many types of mammals including snowshoe hare, red squirrels, beavers, moose and meadow voles.
A big attraction to Squires Memorial Park is the Atlantic salmon.
The Atlantic salmon is an anadromous fish meaning the adults live in the sea but return to freshwater to spawn.
The salmon migrate into Newfoundland rivers from early May to September. These fish are well known for their ability and determination to jump falls and other obstacles in their upstream journey to their birthplace. Salmon have been known to leap as high as four metres.
Once upstream the females lay thousands of eggs which are then fertilized by the males. In April or early May the newly hatched fish are called alevins. When they leave the depression or redd where they were born, they are called fry. As the fry develops it changes colour and becomes known as a parr. Its sides are now marked with dark bars. After one to two years in the river, the parr marks begin to disappear and the young salmon is called a smolt. These near adults follow a general down-stream movement, eventually reaching the sea. In the open sea the adult salmon takes on its majestic silver and blue coloration. After one or more years in the ocean, the adult salmon returns to its home river to spawn. Many salmon repeat this process several times but some die of exhaustion or natural causes and, of course, some are caught by skillful anglers.
Sir Richard Squires Memorial Park has 157 campsites plus an overflow area. Each campsite has a picnic table, fireplace, garbage can and space for your vehicle. There are no electrical outlets. Pit toilets and drinking water taps are conveniently located throughout the park. You can purchase firewood at the check point. The park has a wheelchair accessible comfort station complete with flush toilets, showers, and laundry facilities. Trailer dumping station is also available. See map (107 KB)
The park can accommodate many visitors who just want to utilize the day-use facilities. Picnic sites are located in the playground area and off the main parking lot.
Squires Memorial Park has a large playground containing several sets of swings and see-saws. The area is ideal for sports and games.
Two short trails, which begin at the day-use parking lot, reward you with spectacular views of Big Falls. To the right of the parking lot is the Big Falls Trail which leads down to the Falls. Big Falls is approximately three metres high and 87 metres wide. A salmon ladder was created by blasting out a channel and during July and August you can usually see salmon leaping as they try to make their way upstream to spawn. To the left of the parking lot is the Viewpoint Trail which will guide you to a great vantage point for viewing the Humber River and Big Falls.
Big Falls is known world-wide for its quality salmon angling. Trout are also plentiful in the Humber. Visitors from outside the province must purchase permits for salmon angling. Residents of Newfoundland must obtain salmon licences. For other regulations, see the park staff.
Two-man dories are available on a first-come, first-served basis, only to people holding a valid salmon licence. There are two boat hire periods.: sunrise to 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. to sunset. There is a rental fee for the boats.
Enjoy fast, white water canoeing on the Humber River - recommended for expert canoeists only!
Many Newfoundland residents visited the park area every year to fish for salmon at Big Falls. In the early days it was a three to four day journey from St. John's to the Humber. Travel involved driving over dirt roads, travelling by train, taking a ferry across the Exploits River, and hiking approximately 1.6 kilometres to the Humber River.
As the park area has had an excellent reputation for salmon angling for many years, fishing stories about it abound. One fisherman tells the story of an American woman who caught a 17 kilogram salmon in the 1950's while fishing at Big Falls.
In the 1960's some families brought trailers so they could spend more time at the Humber River. Long before the area became a park, people camped in the section which is now the playground.
Fisherman who frequented the area came to know which spots were the best and they tended to always fish in "their own" areas. Piercy's Hole, Goosney's Rock and Wendy's Pool are just a few examples. Before salmon regulations came into effect, people could catch 20 to 30 salmon per season in the Humber.
In many forested areas of the park, evidence of logging can still be seen. This area, once important in the logging industry, provided pulpwood for the Bowater Pulp and Paper Company (now Corner Brook Pulp and Paper).
An area in the park referred to as "the landing" was once a well used place from which harvested pulpwood was dumped into the river for its 100 kilometre downstream journey to the mill at Corner Brook.
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