Our most well-known protected areas are, without a doubt, our national parks. Who has not heard of the Parc national de la Gaspésie or the Parc national Mont-Orford, under the jurisdiction of the government of Québec, or the federal National Parks such as Forillon National Park, La Mauricie National Park or the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve?
Since the establishment of the first Québec national park in 1895 – Parc de la Montagne-Tremblante – the network of Québec’s national parks has continued to grow to the present total of 26. Despite their fame, these 26 parks cover only 37,445 km2, that is, 0.66% of Québec’s surface area. The three federal National Parks cover 897 km2, that is, barely 0.05% of Québec.
The objective of the national parks network is to protect the sites that best represent the biological diversity of Québec for future generations – from the deciduous forests of southern Québec to the Nunavik tundra; from the Îles de Boucherville to the high summits of Gaspé or the Torngat Mountains…
All forms of industrial activity (logging, mining, and energy development) are forbidden in national parks, and the priority is the absolute preservation of the ecological integrity of the area. In addition to this mission of conservation, the role of national parks in education is very important. This is accomplished by making parts of the parks accessible to the public, whether for interpretation or for low-impact recreational activities (camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, etc.).
CPAWS plays an important role in upholding these fundamental criteria; it is very tempting to allow industrial and commercial development in or at the outskirts of the parks. We must, therefore, remain vigilant to ensure that ecological integrity remains a priority, and we are working towards establishing new protected areas.
The international community has set a protected areas target of 17% by 2020, and Québec has set its own target of 12% by 2015. In November 2013, 9.14% of Québec was protected.
CPAWS 2014 report on state of the parks in Canada.
The state of Caanda's parks : parks under threat.