Parc national Natashquan-Aguanus-Kenamu project
Photo : Raymonde Pomerleau
The territory under study by the Ministère
for the national park project covers an area of 16 000 km2; the eventual boundaries of the park
will be defined within this perimeter. Intended to represent the natural
ecozones of the Boreal Laurentides and the plateau of the Petit Mécatina,
the parc national Natashquan-Aguanus-Kenamu project is the perfect
illustration of their wild beauty.
Lakes, a Plateau…
This vast plateau, whose altitude varies between 400 and 600 metres, is
covered with a multitude of hills. At their base, small watercourses
punctuated with rapids and cascades zigzag toward the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Here and there, taking advantage of a calm in the agitated landscape, the
streams that are now rivers widen out, giving birth to countless lakes with
unusual and unfamiliar names: Kahakaukamat, Cobaz, Nehekau, Hakluyt and many
more. Fonteneau, Le Doré and Briçonnet Lakes are the largest of them, each
with a surface area of 40 to 100 km2.
... and Remarkable Rivers
At the western edge of the plateau, the Natashquan River flows lazily
between the high rock walls of a deep valley, ceaselessly reshaping the
countless sand bars obstructing its passage. Conversely, the Petit Mécatina
River is rarely hemmed in, with the exception of an impressive gorge where
it plunges headlong with a tremendous thundering, raging and foaming for
over 15 km.
A Boreal Environment…
With higher altitude and greater distance from the coast, the climate
becomes ever more harsh. The populations of spruce and pine give way
progressively to open forests where the ground is carpeted with lichens. In
the hollows, peat-bogs add diversity to the area’s landscape. The higher
summits are practically denuded; the plant life on them is little more than
a few shrubs and low plants that have adapted to the cold and wind. The
fires and insect epidemics that periodically sweep through the region
continue to rejuvenate the forests. The wildlife associated with this
environment include beaver, moose, black bears and wolves, not to mention
Atlantic salmon and Canada geese.
… and Isolation Guaranteed
This area is far from civilization and hard to reach. Long used by nomadic
Innus who made the most of its natural wealth, later it contributed to the
survival of the fishers who had settled near the coast. Indeed, the latter
counted on the game and fur-bearing animals of the back country during the
long winter of the Lower North Shore. Since time immemorial, the region has
known almost no development and has thus conserved its primordial integrity
as well as its mystery.