Conservation at Gatineau Park
Gatineau Park is the National Capital Region’s conservation park and receives 2.7 million visits per year. The Park has a rich biodiversity and a wide range of protected habitats and ecosystems. It is also home to a number of species at risk.
The popularity of the Park highlights the need to conserve and protect these natural treasures. As such the following conservation issues are Gatineau Park priorities:
- Protecting biodiversity
- Protecting species at risk
- Limiting habitat fragmentation
- Protecting the ecological continuity zones
- Limiting pressure from human activities
- Acquiring and upgrading the knowledge required for an ecosystem management approach geared toward ecological integrity.
The Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan addresses these issues and guides the protection of the Park’s fragile natural resources.
The Land and Waters of Gatineau Park
The Park is part of the Canadian Shield, a Precambrian rock mass that was formed at least one billion years ago. Tectonic shifting and glaciation have formed the rolling hills, flatlands, bare rock and steep escarpments visible today in the Park. The Eardley Escarpment marks the dividing line between the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence Lowlands.
There are over 50 lakes in the Park, including Pink Lake, one of only 58 known meromictic lakes in North America. As well as lakes, streams and rivers, the Park has several wetland areas.
Five of Gatineau Park’s ecosystems and two of its habitats have great ecological importance.
- La Pêche Lake
- Eardley Plateau
- Eardley Escarpment
- Pink Lake Plateau
- Three-lake Chain — Philippe, Harrington (lac Mousseau) and Meech lakes.
- Folly Bog
These valued ecosystems and habitats are home to many of the Park’s at risk plant and animal species.
The Park supports a broad diversity of wildlife, including thousands of invertebrates, about 10 species of reptiles and 15 species of amphibians. There are more than 50 mammal species, including the white-tailed deer, beaver, black bear and fisher.
Nearly 230 bird species have been seen in the Park.
Gatineau Park has a wealth and diversity of plant species not found anywhere else in Quebec. It is home to approximately 1,000 vascular plant species and 50 species of trees.
Species at Risk
About ninety plant and fifty animal species in the Park are at risk in Quebec and/or Canada. This includes:
- one of Quebec’s largest wild leek populations
- 80 percent of Quebec’s population of rare eastern red cedars
- the eastern wolf
- the least bittern
- part of Quebec’s only known Blanding’s turtle population.
The Park is also home to Quebec’s only known population of the rare Juniper Hairstreak butterfly.
The Park’s diverse ecosystems and proximity to an urban area make it an ideal research location. Many research permits are issued annually to researchers from national and international universities, museums, government and non-governmental organizations.
The scientific reports and data help Gatineau Park biologists plan the short and long term protection of species, habitats and ecosystems. Learn more about the research being done in Gatineau Park.