Portrait of the park - Parc national des Monts-Valin - National Parks - Sépaq

Parc national des Monts-Valin

Portrait of the park

History of Parc national des Monts-Valin

People have been very interested in Monts Valin for decades. Various vocations were considered and proposed for this natural area, such as a winter sports station, a recreation and tourism centre, an ecological centre and a park. Here are some milestones in the history of Parc national des Monts-Valin.

  • 1952: The area was used for recreational purposes for the first time
  • 1967: Request seeking park status for Mont Valin (Saint-Fulgence)
  • 1969: Request that logging be prohibited on Mont Valin (Antoine Dubuc, a major figure in the local forestry industry)
  • 1977: Proposal for the creation of a conservation park on Mont Valin (UQAC)
  • 1980: The development of a summary and a master development plan for the future Parc des Monts-Valin (Government of Québec)
  • 1982: Recognition of the natural region B-18, the Mont Valin Massif (Government of Québec)
  • 1989: Constitution of the Corporation du parc régional des monts Valin (CPRMV)
  • 1990: Creation of a master development plan for Parc régional des monts Valin (CPRMV)
  • 1991: Ratification of the creation of Parc régional des monts Valin (Regional socio-economic summit)
  • 1992: Creation of a development plan for Parc régional des monts Valin; Announcement of the project for the creation of a conservation park in the natural region of B-18 (Government of Québec)
  • 1994: The preliminary development plan for Parc des Monts-Valin was filed
  • 1995: Public hearings were held in March on the creation of Parc des Monts-Valin (Government of Québec)
  • 1996: Creation of Parc des Monts-Valin on September 19 (Government of Québec)
  • 2001: Parc de conservation des Monts-Valin becomes Parc national des Monts-Valin after a change to the Parks Regulation (Québec government)

The Park’s Natural Heritage

Geology and Geomorphology

Two features emerge from the geology and geomorphology of Mont Valin: its mineral composition and its location along the Saguenay fault trough.

Mont Valin is composed of anorthosite, a rock from the depths of the Earth’s crust. It is the root of a mountain that was once gigantic. This massif of intrusive rock (magma) penetrated 30 kilometres into the Earth’s crust 1.15 billion years ago. The vast Laurentian Mountain range, including Mont Valin, was then in formation. The mountains, which were still young, could reach the impressive heights of today’s Himalayas. During the billion years that followed their formation, the Laurentian Mountains were smoothed by the slow and continuous action of erosion. Today we see their foundation, which is composed of anorthosite.

The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region looks like a depression the Laurentian Mountains. Geologically, it came from a local and huge collapse between very old breaks in the Earth’s crust. The Saguenay fault trough, also called the Saguenay graben was formed 180 million years ago, following internal tensions of the Earth’s crust. Breaks in the crust delineating the Saguenay graben are clearly visible in certain places. This is the case for the Mont Valin escarpments, the extension of the fault line north of the graben.

Climate

The relatively high altitude of Mont Valin creates much harsher climatic conditions than those of the Saguenay and Lac Saint-Jean lowlands. The temperatures are lower, the precipitations heavier, and the winds are sometimes extremely violent. For example, it is estimated that for each 100 m of altitude the temperature drops nearly 0.6 °C. The slopes of the mountain also create a barrier against moist air masses. They must therefore rise, and this causes them to cool and condense over the massif, sending more rain and snow down onto the mountaintops.

Plant Life

Studies on various parcels of land in the territory have so far identified 439 vascular plant species at Parc national des Monts-Valin. The park’s plants are mostly the boreal type (66%). However, it also has a large number of temperate environment plants (28%), and a smaller portion of Arctic-alpine plants (about 5%). They are mainly found on the escarpments and barren peaks.

Among the forest groups at the park, the most remarkable are the maple-yellow birch group, the red maple group, and the aspen group featuring large-toothed aspen. These forest stands, concentrated in the foothills, are considered eccentric and dispersed in the lowlands of the Saguenay and Lac Saint-Jean. The flora that accompanies the maple stands is tinged with southern elements at the northern limit of their range.

Among the rare plants discovered in Mont Valin, northern yellow-eyed-grass, alpine cliffbrake, Clinton’s Club-rush, and Robinson’s hawkweed stand out. The last two species are currently on the list of species likely to be designated threatened or vulnerable in Québec. The park also boasts the presence mountain twistedstalk, oval-leafed blueberry and its rare hybrid, Vaccinium x nubigenum. These three species are mainly associated with the cool high-mountain climate.

Wildlife

Thirty-seven mammal species have been recorded. The moose is the principal cervidae representative here. It lives mostly in the mixed forests of the south and southwest of the park. The caribou has been seen at times in the coniferous forests of the highlands. Since 2001, some white-tailed deer have been spotted in the foothills, signaling an expansion of the cervidae area in the region. The beaver, the snowshoe hare, the red squirrel, the muskrat, the porcupine and the striped skunk are among the easiest species to spot.

The main predators reported are the black bear, the Canadian lynx, the wolf, the coyote, the red fox, the American mink, the long-tailed weasel, the ermine, the American marten, and the river otter. We suspect the presence of cougar and fisher in the mature forests of the high summits and the plateaus around them.

Some preliminary inventories of small mammals (shrews, mice, voles, bats) have reported four bat species, including the hoary bat and the eastern red bat, both mentioned on the list of species likely to be designated vulnerable or threatened.

To date, the list of bird species in Parc national des Monts-Valin includes 132 species belonging to 32 families. The majority of the listed species are associated with the boreal forest environment. Among the avifauna, nesting patterns of the Fox Sparrow and Bicknell’s Thrush in the park attract particular attention. The Fox Sparrow is associated with high boreal regions, while Bicknell’s Thrush is a bird with special concern status, frequenting only the highest summits in southern Québec. The two species find the special northern conditions they need to live and reproduce in the high altitude environment of Mont Valin and Mont Victor-Tremblay.

Interest in fish at Parc national des Monts-Valin is mostly related to the altitudinal distribution of species and the presence of Atlantic salmon in the Rivière Sainte-Marguerite sector.

The bodies of water at the foot of Mont Valin host communities composed of speckled trout, white sucker, and chub (sympatric lakes), while the lakes in the park’s highlands shelter pure populations of speckled trout (allopatric lakes). As for altitude lakes, called “perched lakes” or “fishless lakes”, they are most often cut off from the river system by insurmountable barriers. This is why they contain no fish.

Parc national des Monts-Valin has 11 species of amphibians, including the American toad, the mink frog, the wood frog, the northern spring peeper, the Northern two-lined salamander and the eastern newt. Reptiles found in the park include the garter snake and the redbelly snake.


The Cultural Heritage of the Park

There is little information available on the traditional activities that took place on the current territory of Parc national des Monts-Valin. However, remnants of logging can still be seen in the area and reflect past land use.

The Valin Depot

The entrance to the park was the nerve centre of logging activities in the first half of the 20th century. Lodging and storage buildings stand near the confluence of Lac aux Canots and Rivière Valin. In the middle of the road loop across from the Discovery and Visitors Centre, pieces of cement can still be seen in this place of intense activity, called “Dépôt Valin” or “Dépôt Price à Valin”.

The Price Bridge

To get to the “Dépôt Valin” site, one has to cross Rivière Valin. “Pont Price” was built near today’s bridge and the Discovery and Visitors Centre. A few metres west of the current bridge, the wooden structure of the old bridge can still be seen by canoe, especially in the summer when the river is low.

Water Retention Structures (dams)

To transport logs to the mills, the river system was used in a bold way. Several dams were built on the territory to exercise some control on the hydraulic forces in order to transport and float timber. The old dams were concentrated almost exclusively in the foothills. The rich forests of the foothills, their gentle topography and water reserves made this area the scene of sustained logging operations.

Booms on Rivière Valin

In addition to dams, booms were also used. They floated on the surface of the water to retain and accumulate logs. The booms were made of pieces of wood held together by chains. They are also the origin of the name of the Estacade campground, which is downstream of the Discovery and Visitors Centre.

Did you know?

The Park in Numbers

Year established: 1996
Area: 154 km2
Perimeter: 105 km
Annual attendance: 25,000 visit-days


Lists of Species

(in French only)

Amphibians and reptiles

Species at risk

Mammals

Birds


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