Great Canadian Parks / Québec

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The Parks / Québec / La Mauricie National Park



 

The nomadic Attikameks, a Paleolithic people, travelled the lakes and forests 8000 years ago, hunting game and foraging for berries, roots and edible plants. Of the 34 archeological sites that have been found, the rock paintings at Lake Wapizagonke is one of the six known examples of that ancient art in Quebec. Many of these sites, which contain the remains of fireplaces and stone implements, have been found mainly on their natural route connecting the St. Lawrence valley with the upper St. Maurice, indicating that settlement was brief: small family groups moving northward to their hunting grounds. The first whites were trappers who expanded the trade in beaver pelts. Logging intensified in the 1850Žs when white pine was sought by the British to build war ships. By 1880, white pine was scarce and spruce and fir became the basis of a thriving pulp and paper industry. Between 1933 and 1970, 50% of the remaining forest cover was cut down and transported by river to the sawmills. Since 1970, restoration of forests and waterways and the eradication of logging roads and white spruce plantations have provided protection for this magnificent tract of land while making it accessible to everyone. In the 1880's, entrepreneurs wishing to set up private fish and game clubs agreed to enforce game and fish conservation laws in return for exclusive privileges. One of the first such clubs was the Shawinigan Club which attracted its members to two of the areas most beautiful lakes, the Wapizagonke and the Anticagamac. In 1886, the prestigious Laurentian Club took over four lakes to provide sport mainly for rich Americans. Clubs attracted members in droves each spring to fish for speckled trout and in fall to hunt big game. When La Mauricie National Park was established in 1970, sixteen exclusive fish and game clubs lost their right to private use of the territory, and in 1977, Quebec abolished all private fish and game clubs still remaining on public land.

 

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