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Press Release

Québec Strategy for Protected Areas

MINISTER CLAUDE BÉCHARD CONFIRMS INTENTION TO CREATE PARC NATIONAL DE LA KUURURJUAQ IN NUNAVIK

Québec, January 29, 2007 — Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks and Deputy Government House Leader Claude Béchard confirms the Government of Québec’s intention to create Parc national de la Kuururjuaq in Nunavik and announces that public hearings will be held in Kangiqsualujjuaq on March 14 and 15, 2007.

This national park project was prepared by a working group made up of representatives of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP), the Kativik Regional Government, the Makivik Corporation and the village of Kangiqsualujjuaq. It is the Kangiqsualujjuaq representatives who suggested that the park be named Kuururjuaq in order to highlight Inuit cultural heritage.

The creation of Parc national de la Kuururjuaq is a direct result of the partnership agreement targeting Nunavik’s economic and community development. It also falls within the Québec Strategy for Protected Areas. The creation of this park will make it possible to protect a representative sample of the Torngat Mountains Foothills natural region and will have positive repercussions on both the economy of Nunavik and tourism, especially for the northern village of Kangiqsualujjuaq.

Territory dedicated to conservation

The territory proposed for the creation of this new national park in Nunavik covers an area of 4 273 km2. It includes nearly the entire watershed of the Koroc River, with the exception of the mouth of the river, which is located on Category I land under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. The easternmost area of the park will protect a section of the Torngat Mountains that boasts the highest summit in Québec, Mount d’Iberville (1 646 metres). As for the Koroc River valley, it is nestled in the heart of the tundra but contains a boreal forest sheltering Québec’s most northerly population of white birch.

Within the park, the zoning guidelines establish territory use based on degree of fragility and potential for use. In Parc national de la Kuururjuaq, 88,2% of the territory will be zoned for conservation; in those sections, wildlife harvesting and motor vehicle access will be prohibited. The directives and regulations related to zoning will not have any impact on traditional hunting, fishing and trapping rights provided for under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

The Québec Policy on Parks provides that conservation takes precedence over development. As a result, the visitor reception area, access and lodging, as well as educational and recreational activities have been planned in such a way as to facilitate discovery of the territory while limiting impact on the natural heritage. The visitor reception area will be in Kangiqsualujjuaq village in order to encourage exchanges with the Inuit population. Access to the park would be primarily by bush plane using specially designed airstrips and by boat, from Kangiqsualujjuaq, for the coastal section of the park. In winter, the park would be accessible mainly by snowmobile along the Koroc River, a natural travel route.

Distinguishing Parc national de la Kuururjuaq are its two main attractions: the massif of the Torngat Mountains, which offers a spectacular panorama, and the Koroc River valley and its forest of black spruce. The two sectors will provide visitors with a hiking, canoeing and kayaking experience that is unique in Québec.

Unlike the existing national parks in southern Québec, which are managed by Sepaq, Parc national de la Kuururjuaq will be operated by the Kativik Regional Government. Once the Park has been officially created, an agreement will be signed between the Kativik Regional Government and the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs, delegating management of this new national park to the Inuit.

Public hearings in Kangiqsualujjuaq

In accordance with the Parks Act, the Government of Québec will be holding public hearings in order to obtain the opinions of persons and organizations affected by the Parc national de la Kuururjuaq project.

The public hearings will be held in Kangiqsualujjuaq, on March 14 and 15, 2007, starting at 10 a.m., in the gymnasium of the Kangiqsualujjuaq Community Centre. Persons and organizations interested in participating must make known their intention and submit a brief before March 5, 2007. The Inuit who wish to make known their comments without preparing a written brief will also be heard.

The provisional master plan, fact sheets, maps and logistics surrounding the hearings are available on the Web site of the MDDEP.

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Sources:

Pascal D’Astous
Press Agent
Cabinet of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks
Tel.: 418 521-3911

Serge Labrecque
Communications Officer
Direction des communications
Ministère du Développement durable,
de l’Environnement et des Parcs

For information:

Media relations: 418 521-3991

 

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