Opémican Point: the heart of the park
As a privileged witness to a number of episodes of Témiscamingue’s history, Opémican Point is the focal point of Parc national d’Opémican. Geography, artifacts, and archeological remains are evidence of a rich past, stretching from the last glacial period to the Aboriginal use of the territory and on to the logging of recent decades. All these features led the Ministère des Affaires culturelles to give Opémican Point cultural property status in 1983.
A rich still-visible past
Thanks to the efforts of several local groups and many volunteers who, since 1979, have taken steps to preserve the site, the original buildings of the Opémican timber floating relay station still exist today. These will be enhanced to offer visitors an extraordinary immersive and sensory experience, from the opening in 2019.
The buildings open to visitors will include Auberge Jodoin dating from 1883 and the blacksmithing workshop that met all the workers’ metallurgy needs.
All the efforts made during the 1980s and 1990s, notably by the Letang Municipal Corporation and Cultural Committee, the Opémican Historical Society, and the Témiscaming Opémican Corporation, laid the foundation for the creation of Parc national d’Opémican.
The story of the park’s creation
Even though the conservation and enhancement of Opémican Point by local stakeholders began more than 30 years ago, the first official steps for the creation of Parc national d’Opémican were only taken in 2002, when various regional organizations asked the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks to grant national park status to Parc régional d’Opémican. Since the park did not meet the criteria for a national park, the Service des parcs took steps to delineate a larger study area.
In 2007, biodiversity reserve status was conferred on an area of 238 km2 to protect most of the study area. From 2008 to 2011, the Service des parcs conducted inventory work, leading to the publication of the Status of Knowledge for the Parc national d’Opémican Project.
Subsequently, an interim master plan was revealed, and consultations culminated with public hearings in June 2012. Following analysis of the report on these consultations, the government officially proceeded with the creation of Parc national d’Opémican on December 19, 2013.
Did you know?
The term "national park" does not refer to the usual level of government (federal or provincial), but to an international classification category for protected areas as determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (www.iucn.org).