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September 28, 2011

Launching of the Park Path Explorer at Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno

Boucherville - The President and CEO of the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (Sépaq), Raymond Desjardins, the Vice-President of Operations for Parcs Québec, Martin Soucy, and the Director of Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno, André Despatie, launched the new Park Path Explorer approach today. The launching marks the end of a series of essential construction projects at the park, all part and parcel of the second phase of development of our national parks. In a more general sense, this occasion also serves to highlight a brand-new way of discovering and visiting the territories protected by the Parcs Québec network. The launching at Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno is the second such event to take place across the network, after Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier. Other parks will be following suit in the next 15 months.

Reviewing procedures

These development projects were preceded by an in-depth reflection on how things should be done at Parcs Québec, especially with respect to sustainable development and education. Sépaq assembled a multi-disciplinary team to rethink its educational package in order to

"During the reflection process, a new approach quickly emerged: the Park Path Explorer, which enhances the experience of discovering our parks and maintains the visibility of our network,” affirms Raymond Desjardins, proudly speaking of this new approach, the product of extensive teamwork at Sépaq.

An open-air museum offering a wealth of discoveries

For the last 12 years, Parcs Québec has been presenting high quality indoor thematic exhibits. However, “with time, we have realized that the traditional exhibit no long meets the needs of a new park clientele, which prefers direct contact with the territory itself,” points out Martin Soucy, Vice-President of Operations for the national parks network. Based on the premise that nature is to parks what works of art may be to museums, it became obvious that parks are large open-air museums and that their main attraction is the outside world, encompassing their territory.

Park Path Explorer: a new way to discover our national parks

Park Path Explorer was developed by taking into account the need to highlight certain key attributes, natural or historical, of our national parks. First of all, we will connect with visitors where they naturally end up on arrival, in the common living area of the discovery and visitors centre (DVC), the launching pad for their discovery. The Park Path Explorer, which is also available on the Parcs Québec website, will initially lead people to discover what there is To See and To Do in the national park that they are visiting. This tool will also enable people to customize their visit by choosing among proposed walking, cycling or navigable paths, and “will serve to support the excellent work done by our reception team in the national parks,” Martin Soucy adds.

Once they have chosen their path, visitors can begin their visit, armed with an iPod, an iPhone or a brochure. The For further information tab will provide access to a series of thematic files, enabling visitors to learn more about the park before or after their visit.

Just like the interpretive panels that line the paths and the 500 discovery activities designed for guided tours or independent visits, the Park Path Explorer allows people to further their understanding of the parks’ mission. "By guiding visitors through their discoveries, we want to lead them to participate more actively in the mission to conserve our parks," Martin Soucy concludes, focusing on the task at hand.

An important park within our network

In 2010, Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno inaugurated its new discovery and visitors centre. In a context characterized by the park’s ever-increasing popularity, it became necessary to revamp the DVC building, a place for meetings, learning and exchange, the real launching pad for discovery. Each and every year, over 750,000 visitors converge upon Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno, making it the second most visited park in the network.

Since 2008, almost $2.4M has been invested in Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno, enabling the construction of new buildings designed to receive its clientele. "Visitors can now take advantage of more modern facilities in order to fully appreciate their time at this park, located in the midst of a natural world typical of Montérégie,” concludes André Despatie.

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