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Portrait of the park

History of Parc national d'Aiguebelle

In 1945, the Québec government noticed that spaces for the maintenance of wildlife resources were scarce in Abitibi. Indeed, the wildlife population showed a substantial reduction, especially with regard to moose and beaver. This was due to land clearing for agricultural purposes and mining development, which was gaining momentum.  The township of Aiguebelle was spared however, since the hills were not conducive to agriculture and made access difficult.

On October 8, 1945, this area was chosen to become the Aiguebelle hunting and fishing reserve: a territory that was originally 256 km2. In March 1984, an interim management plan was submitted to public consultation to create a conservation park. Hearings gave rise to serious opposition from the mining world, which denounced the loss of territory that could have potential.

Despite this, Parc d'Aiguebelle was inaugurated on February 6, 1985. Under the Parks Act, it was given the mission to protect and enhance a territory that was a representative and exceptional example of the natural region of the clay belt of Abitibi.

The Park’s Natural Heritage


The park’s territory is part of the Canadian Shield, which began forming about 3.8 billion years ago. It is made of magma that poured out under the ocean in successive layers. Starting 2.79 billion years ago, a new substratum took shape, covering all of Abitibi-Témiscamingue. From this rock, several of the region’s massifs, including the Abijévis hills and faults, formed several million years later during major upheavals.


The last glaciation, the Wisconsin, which started about 100,000 ago, is responsible for the territory’s current form. This glacier covered the whole Abitibi area and it progressed all the way to the state of Wisconsin. Traces of erosion and several formations testify to its presence. For example, you can see glacial striations created by the friction of materials transported by the glacier, plus a network of giant’s kettles on La Traverse trail.


The main hydrographic feature of the area is the crossing of the drainage divide between the St. Lawrence River and James Bay watersheds. This line passes between Lac La Haie and Lac Sault. There are close to 80 lakes in the park. The lakes in the hills are small and have clear waters, which is exceptional for the region. The lakes on the plane are typical of Abitibi: large and shallow with murky brown waters.

Plant Life

The park’s vegetation is boreal forest. It is composed mainly of young forest stands associated with repeated fires. This promotes the growth of pioneer species such as aspen and jack pine. Rarer species for the region, such as yellow birch and American black ash, are now part of the landscape. The unusual morphology of fault lakes allowed the creation of small and unique habitats that shelter very rare species, such as Gymnocarpium jessoense.


Two wildlife representatives of the boreal forest are the moose and the beaver. They are everywhere in the park. The park’s diversity in terms of geomorphology, hydrology and plant life contributes to the abundance and diversity of animal species by providing a wide variety of habitats. Some species are at the edge of their range, such as the Connecticut Warbler and the Sharp-tailed Grouse. Others are unusual for the region, such as lake trout.

The Cultural Heritage of the Park

The Native Occupation

The discovery of sites along the park’s boundaries and within the park suggests that the area was frequented by the natives. This territory was attractive because of Rivière Kinojévis, recognized as one of the major travelling axes used by these populations. Lac La Haie and Lac Sault were used by those who wanted to cross from one watershed to another. It was also a good hunting ground, filled with beaver and deer.

The First Europeans

The great majority of Abitibi townships were named after captains and officers of Montcalm’s army regiments in the early 1900s. Charles de Nevair d'Aiguebelle thus gave his name to the township that includes the park. Settlement activity on the lands near Lac Loïs started in 1917 with the construction of a sawmill, which led to farmland being opened. The forest, which is home to a variety of wildlife, also attracted trappers of fur-bearing animals.

Did you know?

The Park in Numbers

Year established: 1985
Area: 268 km2
Perimeter: 87 km2
Annual attendance: 40,000 visit-days

Lists of Species

(in French only)

Amphibians and reptiles

Species at risk



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