Great Canadian Parks / Québec

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The Parks / Québec / Forillon National Park





Forillon lies at the top of the northernmost continental reaches of the Appalachians, which extend southward as far as Alabama. Barren of trees and covered in shale, most peaks are about 900 metres with Mount St. Jacques Cartier reaching 1320 metres. The mountainous interior, with its wooded hills and valleys, stretches back into the inner peninsula and out to the steep edges of the sea to the north and east. Erosion has smoothed the summits of the mountains making them both spectacular and accessible to hikers. At the tip of the Gaspe, where mountains reach the sea, are a series of multi-hued cliffs and plunging headlands rising as 200 metre walls directly above the sea. These sheer bluffs, gleaming over the ocean, are formed from limestone which, over time, has been broken down in places creating the pebbled, crescent-shaped beaches that dot the shoreline.

 

 



Forest covers 95% of the park's land area. On the higher elevations in the central mountains are found coniferous boreal white spruce, balsam fir and black spruce. In the river glens and lowlands, sugar maple, white pine and hemlock mix with oak, ash and cedar. In all, a total of 63 forest vegetation communities have been identified. The astonishing diversity of its plant life can be in part attributed to ten separate ecosystems: forest, cliffs, alpine meadows, fallow fields, sand dunes, lakes, streams, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and the shore. The 696 plant species include the rare arctic-alpine flora, which thrive on the exposed cliff faces and talus slopes where other plants cannot survive. The Penouille Peninsula, a long sand spit reaching 1.5 kilometres into the sea, is host to over 40 species of lichen. On its inland edge, a rich salt marsh which is always flooded, are species well-adapted to the brackishness of the water and the action of the tides: spartina, beachgrass and the rare eelgrass that lives entirely underwater.


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