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Sailing Canada’s National Parks: The Gaspé and St Lawrence River

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2017 is Canada’s sesquicentennial (that is to say, 150 years since Confederation), and to celebrate, Parks Canada is making access to national parks free for the year. substantial number of those national parks are on significant coastlines, and can be explored by boat. In this blog, the second of series, we will provide information about National Parks on the Gaspé and St Lawrence River.


Ile Anticosti National Park. credit to SEPAQ

Ile Anticosti National Park

Just imagine! In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a wild and enchanting island, basking in the clear northern light. Imagine white cliffs being lapped by the ocean’s waters unfailingly. Imagine looking down into yawning canyons and hearing the roar of powerful falls. Imagine huge secluded caves, white-tailed deer grazing on seaweed, salmon frolicking in emerald green basins, and seals sunning on rocks. Imagine yourself at Parc national d’Anticosti. Nearly 125 km of trails crisscross this huge land area. On the island, hiking takes several forms: a walk along the shore or through a canyon with towering rock faces, a fascinating exploration of a cave or an outing in a boreal forest.

Charts: 4025 Cap Whittle to Havre-Sainte-Pierre, 4026 Havre-Saint-Pierre and Cap de Rosiers, 4430 Plans – Ile d’Anticosti
Cruising Guides: Cruising Guide to the Gulf of St Lawrence, Cruising Guide to St Lawrence River and Quebec Waterways Note: This last is a new edition in 2017.

 

Mingan Archpelago National Park Reserve, credit to Parks Canada

Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve
Park Website

Only an artist’s limitless imagination could have conjured up the striking landscapes of the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. The combination of climate, sea, and naturally sculpted rocks have been the subject of countless works of art over the years. As far as the eye can see there are peat polygons, gravel beaches, former sea cliffs, and limestone monoliths with the ocean setting the mood. Its rhythm, salty smell and vibrant blue colour are so idyllic it feels like you’ve walked into a living painting where thousands of seabirds – meeting on the island to nest – swirl across the sky in unison. Atlantic puffins, terns, and Common eiders are just a few winged friends who regularly visit the islands.

Charts: 4025 Cap Whittle to Havre-Sainte-Pierre, 4026 Havre-Saint-Pierre and Cap de Rosiers
Cruising Guides: Cruising Guide to the Gulf of St Lawrence, Cruising Guide to St Lawrence River and Quebec Waterways

 

 

Forillon National Park, credit to Parks Canada

Forillon National Park
Park Website

Forillon Park covers a total of 244.8 km2, including a narrow strip of marine area a little over 150 m wide (4.4 km2). Its history is as fascinating as its wildlife and plant life which includes Eastern Canada’s largest colony of Atlantic kittiwakes. As seen at the Grande‑Grave heritage site, commercial cod fishing prospered from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. Frequented by Aboriginal peoples for more than 4,000 years, Forillon is also the site of the only World War II coastal battery that is fully preserved and publicly accessible in Quebec, at Fort Peninsula. As impressive as the major role played by the Gaspé naval base in the Battle of the St. Lawrence from 1942 to 1944 is the discovery of a geological phenomena of easily visible fossils dating back 500 million years!

Charts: 4024 Chaleur Bay to Isle de La Madeleine, 4416 Havre de Gaspe, 4485 Cap des Rosiers to Chandler
Cruising Guides: Cruising Guide to the Gulf of St Lawrence, Cruising Guide to St Lawrence River and Quebec Waterways

 

Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay. credit to SEPAQ

Parc National du Fjord-du-Saguenay
Park Website

The scenery is so awe-inspiring! In this magnificent spot, nature used its colossal strength to create a fjord. There are so many things to see and do here in winter and summer alike. For example, you can head to Baie de Tadoussac to admire the extraordinary panorama of the boundless sea, but also to see hundreds of migrating birds. The scale of this migration gave birth to the Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac. The park is divided into three areas, as large as they are different: Baie-Éternité, Baie-de-Tadoussac and Baie-Sainte-Marguerite.

Charts: 1201 Saint-Fulgence to Saguenay, 1202 Cap Eternite to Saint-Fulgence, 1203 Tadoussac to Cap Eternite, 1320 Ile du Bic to Cape de la Tete au Chien, 6100 Lac Saint-Jean
Cruising Guides: Cruising Guide to the Gulf of St Lawrence, Cruising Guide to St Lawrence River and Quebec Waterways

 

 

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