Holiday water report 2019
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HOLIDAY WATER 2019 - QUÉBEC NATIONAL PARKS
By Suzanne Forcese
A rich history, stunning adventure, diversified beauty and yummy food met Water Today when we arrived in Quebec’s National Parks. This will whet your appetite!
La Mauricie National Park
Located near Shawinigan in the Laurentian Mountains, the Park covers 536 sq. km. Only a 2 hour drive from both Montreal and Québec City, the Park’s 150 lakes buzz with activity year round. It is a winter paradise for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even winter camping. Summers offer sandy beaches, picnic areas, waterfalls, hiking, camping and even 4-star accommodation-- all accessible by boat.
Parks Canada oTENTiks are available at the Mistagance Campground. Here you can experience the great outdoors in glamp-style comfort. There are 12 three-season units available. Nearby is a common service building with showers and toilets, an amphitheatre, potable water supply points, and a yard for the purchase of firewood. oTENTiks at Rivire Ċ la Pêche campground are available in winter with enough firewood fort the duration of your stay (bring your own water in winter).
There are 3 semi-serviced campgrounds in the park, all in wooded areas that accommodate tents, tent-trailers and motorized vehicles. Each site is equipped with a fireplace, picnic table and is located near a drinking water outlet. Service buildings are equipped with washbasins, toilets and showers. An amphitheatre and sewage dumping station are nearby. Firewood is available for purchase on location.
For pedestrian access only while hiking Rivière à la Pêche Campground, Mistagance Campground, Wapizagonke Campground and Wapigonnke Campground walk-in loop have 29 sites for 1 tent only. There is access to a washroom but NO Water. Please check Parks Canada website for reservations and more information.
Canoe-Camping (Available from mid-May to mid-October). Sites are accessible only by canoe on Anticagamac Lake, Edouard Lake, lac des Cinq, Dauphinais Lake, Marie Lake, Waber Lake, Apizagonke Lake and Lac Ċ la Pêche. Each site is equipped with a max of 4 tent platforms as well as picnic table, a dry toilet and bea- proof food hanger. Bring your own drinking water.
La Clairière Group Campground is reserved for legally constituted groups of at least 10 and up to 100 people. Tents only. Reservations mandatory 1-819-538-3232. Service buildings with toilets, showers and 2 sinks for washing dishes. No drinking water.
For the very adventurous winter camping is available at the Rivière à la Pêche Campground where facilities include a dry toilet and a kitchen shelter equipped with a wood stove. No water. Registration is mandatory.
Forillon National Park
Located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula covering 244 sq. km, much of the park is pure mountain wilderness. For hikers, it is the dream come true on trails that skirt seaside cliff edges, a cluster of traditional Gaspé fishing villages, pebble beaches in quiet coves and a coastline that wraps around 2 of the triangular park’s 3 sides. The Park protects a range of varied little ecosystems; natural prairies and farm fields; seaside cliffs; rivers; lakes; marshes; and the seashore. Virtually the entire park is covered with forests that shelter a combination of 700 kinds of local flora along with plants normally found in Arctic or alpine environments. Historically this resource-rich area was exploited for its supply of wood. Diverse wildlife and 225 species of birds and seabirds such as black-legged kittiwakes are plentiful in the perfect for breeding area of the cliffs. Seal colonies have staked their claim on the shores.
Summer really shines with coastal scenery at its finest on its pristine beaches and easily accessible trails at the peak of their wild flower beauty. Winter provides 6 ski trails, 3 off trail ski areas, and 6 snow-shoeing trails with equipment for rent at the Penouille Visitor Centre.
Sea kayaking, stand-up paddling, hiking horseback riding, swimming, tennis, cycling, scuba diving, whale watching -- there’s more than enough activity.
All park hiking trails will enable you to appreciate the beauty and natural wealth of this protected area. Have a hand-held GPS and want to locate the main attractions? Enter geographic coordinates (WGS84) in decimal degrees (DDdddddd°) into your GPS
Go to https://www.pc.gc./en/pn-np/qc/forillon/activ/randonnee-hiking for info on all the hikes & coordinates.
It’s a great place for a picnic. All the picnic areas can be reached by car and offer a view of the water.
Picnic areas without shelters featuring a pit toilet and garbage cans but no potable water are located at the following locations:
- Fort Peninsula
- Petit-Gaspé (beach, head of Mount-Saint-Alban trail)
- Anse-Saint George (beach)
- Anse-aux-Amerindiens (whalewatching point, beach, start of last segment of the Les Graves trail)
- Anse-au-Griffon (view out over a river valley)
Picnic areas with shelters (service area building with running water, toilets, wood stove) is located near the following outdoor picnic areas:
- Cap Bon-Ami(beach, scenic lookout, head of the Mount-Saint-Alban trail)
- Grand-Grave (beach, harbour, heritage sites open to visitors)
- Cap-des-Rosiers harbour (interpretation centre, prelude-a-Forillon trail)
A visitor centre featuring toilets, running water and a food area are located near the following outdoor picnic area:
- Penouille (sand beach) ideal for bathing, short walking and biking trail
Station Forillon provides continental breakfast every morning; classic guedilles with lobster and shrimp; boards of the sea and land; and individual pizzas. They are famous for the country snack special menu. A licensed convenience store has all the essentials including ice cream, beer, health food and cooking supplies for your evenings around the fire. Bike and camping equipment are for rent too.
Penouille Snack-Bar is a great place to have lunch or enjoy an espresso. Specialties include gourmet sandwiches, salads, pastries and snacks.
The Parks Canada Shop has clothing, gifts, and souvenirs.
Interested in an overnight stay in the wilderness? There is front and back country camping as well as glamping.
For Reservable Camping Information & Coordinates as well as oTentik & MicrOcube locations and amenities go to: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/qc/forillon/activ/camping/camping-information-pcrs
Petit-Gaspé (South Area) with potable water outlets along the loop. Check out the Google Streetview! 101 sites without electricity, 35 sites with electricity and 32 sites with water and electricity.
Des-Rosiers (North Area) potable water outlets along the loops. 104 sites without electricity 42 sites with electricity. Check out the Google Streetview!
Cap-Bon-Ami 38 sites without electricity tents only unwooded campground. No Water. Check out the Google Street View!
Backcountry Camping No Potable Water
Campsites are located along the Les Crêtes and Les Lacs trails. These sites include basic amenities such as dry toilets and picnic tables. Tenting only. Registration is mandatory either at a toll booth, a Visitor Centre of by phone at 418-368-5505
2 Lean-to shelters with 3 walls make it possible to camp without bringing a tent. Both shelters can accommodate 4 people and are located along the Les Cretes and Les Lacs trails. Open-air wood fires are prohibited in all areas of the backcountry. Reservations at a toll booth, Penouille Visitor Centre or by phone 418-368-5505
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve
Featuring the Mingan Archipelago, a chain of around 40 islandS formed as the continent slowly rose after the last glaciation this national park reserve is on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Oddly shaped rock pillars sculpted by wind and sea create this unique landscape of 150.7 sq. km. Small limestone islands extend between communities of Longue-Pointe and Aguanish along the north shore of the Gulf Accessed by highway 138 or by air to Hâvre-Saint-Pierre and by
boat. Along the shore are grottos, flowerpots and colonnades. Atlantic puffin and other seabirds nest in the limestone islands. The vegetation is more typical of northern latitudes because of the harsh climate. Some plant species are endemic to the island. Hiking and bird-watching are popular activities on land.
Whales and seals can be seen. There is much to explore on over 1000 islands and islets. Bird watching and marine mammal watching tours are available.
Take advantage of a Parks Canada Heritage presenter and be guided. You can choose from a variety of cruises and stopovers offered by local maritime transport services. Note: All interpretive activities are offered in French. Upon request and availability of staff English may be available.
- Île aux Perroquets-- an island a lighthouse, seabirds
- Île Nue de Mingan-- Gifts from the Sea
- Île Quarry-- A diversity of habitats
- Île Niapiskau-- The formation of the Monoliths
- Île du Fantome Rare -- beauty in a hostile environment
- Eastern Sector and Petite Île au Marteau -- An island hopping adventure
Sea excursions are available offered by several boat operators recognized by Parks Canada from Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan or Hâvre-Saint-Pierre.
Discovery activities allow you to immerse in the Innu culture; taste northern flavours; have a picnic or join the theatrical walk to learn the history of the lighthouse keepers. Make your reservation with the boat operators.
Nautical activities include sea kayaking, boating, paddle board and Scuba diving.
Hiking is possible on wooden boardwalks or on the shores of the islands. There are close to 80 km of hiking trails distributed over 9 islands. Discover the seashore, the heart of the islands, the woods, the barrens, and the peat bogs.
Please keep in mind that certain areas are particularly fragile to the point where even the slightest human activity can have grave consequences on their ecological integrity. Stick to the paths or the shoreline. Know how to observe without causing a disturbance.
You will find list of hiking trails and cautions at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/qc/mingan/activ/Randonee-Hiking
Camping and Accommodations (Front Country)
Remember the islands are boat accessible only! A permit is necessary. Reservations are necessary. You will need to bring drinking water. For a list of what to’s & what not to’s, what is available, which islands offer oTENTiks and Group Camping please visit https://www.pc.gc/en/pn-np/qc/mingan/activ/camping/avant-pays-frontcountry#campgrounds
And keep in mind that weather may change your departure plans. Be prepared to wait it out for a day or two.
Don’t want the hassle or the worry? 4-star accommodation in the heart of a lighthouse station is just what you are looking for on Île aux Perroquets. Local treats and cocktails await your arrival! Fresh ocean air, puffins and razorbills, not to mention the charm of the 50’s décor where you can experience a unique island. Visit the Corporation de I’Îe aux Perroquets website to make a reservation.
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