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Going green: Go-Van explores Quebec's national parks

Last summer, Go-Van travelled 3000 km on Quebec roads to visit a half dozen national parks. The objective? Meet the enthusiasts who work for conservation in these exceptional protected territories and discuss with them various issues that lead to reflections on our relationship with nature.

The most inspiring part of this journey? All those people who dedicate their lives to preserving our environment and who will enable our future generations to enjoy it. There’s no doubt that we must all do our part. From Grand lac Saint-François to the eternal snows of the Chic-Chocs, here are the images and stories they brought back with them. (Videos in French only)

Parc national de la Gaspésie Parc national de la Gaspésie
Parc national de la Gaspésie Go-Van | © Sépaq

Parc national de la Gaspésie

Go-Van | © Sépaq

Their first stop was Parc national de la Gaspésie, nestled at the heart of the Chic-Chocs mountains and boasting some of Quebec’s most spectacular scenery. Hiking there is an experience that’s one of a kind. The southernmost colony of caribou can be observed on Mont Jacques-Cartier. At the beginning of the last century, there were about 1000 caribou in the park. Today, there are fewer than 80 left. The territory is now closed to logging and mining. Concrete actions are also being taken to restore the species.

Also to be checked out:

The evolution of the Gaspésie caribou

Forest restoration to protect the Gaspésie caribou

Parc national du
Fjord-du-Saguenay

Go-Van | © Sépaq

Some 800 km later, the team stopped over at vast Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay. Gaspésie has its caribou; the fjord has its belugas. While these majestic mammals are breeding in the waters of Tadoussac, the park and its partners restrict watercraft access. This measure provides peace of mind for mothers and their offspring, all in order to limit the impacts on this declining species.

A little further upstream in the fjord, magnificent cliffs serve as nest sites for peregrine falcons, which were in danger of extinction in the 1980s. The park even had to reintroduce individual birds because the situation was so critical. Thanks to the park's efforts, the falcon population has increased fivefold in just a few years.

Also to be checked out:

Peregrine falcon protection

Owl migration

Parc national de la Pointe-Taillon

Go-Van | © Sépaq

While in the blueberry region, a stopover at magnificent Lac Saint-Jean, more specifically at Parc national de Pointe-Taillon, is a must. However, this jewel of the region is struggling with problems of premature bank erosion. Rising water levels combined with waves at certain times of the year have a significant impact on sensitive environments and habitats, as well as on park infrastructure. To remedy the situation, the park team is implementing shoreline stabilization systems adapted to the particularities of Lac Saint-Jean. The results speak for themselves.

Also to be checked out:

The biodiversity of the islands

Moose tracking

Parc national d’Opémican

Go-Van | © Sépaq

Some 1000 km later, visitors will discover Parc national d’Opémican and its giant pine forest meeting place. A stopover that’s not to be missed! After a night under the stars between Lac Témiscamingue and Lac Kipawa, the team had the privilege of visiting the facilities under construction of the latest member of the Quebec national parks family. There are four threatened bird species in the area, representing quite a challenge for those who have worked so hard to create this park.

Also to be checked out:

Fish protection at Parc national d'Opémican

Parc national de Frontenac

Go-Van | © Sépaq

Back in the south of the province, the team stopped at Parc national de Frontenac on the outskirts of Grand lac Saint-François. This immense waterway has been struggling with an overabundance of common reeds since the 1990s. The park is stepping up its efforts to control this invasive alien species and ensure the diversity of shoreline habitats, the sign of a rich and healthy natural environment.

Also to be checked out:

Walleye conservation

Parc national du
Lac-Témiscouata

Go-Van | © Sépaq

Last stop, the rich territory of Parc national du Lac-Témiscouata. On-site conservation efforts are mainly aimed at protecting the cultural heritage of the area, particularly because of the many archaeological sites found there. The on-site team has developed special relationships with the Indigenous Maliseet Viger First Nation because it is in a sense their history that the park is trying to retrace through its sites, some of which can boast more than 10,000 years of history.

Also to be checked out:

Controlling watermilfoil

Protecting Lac Témiscouata

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