Great Canadian Parks / Québec

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The Parks / Québec / Saguenay-St. Lawrence National Park


The Montagnais community on the eastern border of the marine park serves as a reminder that aboriginal people have inhabited this bounteous land for more than 6000 years, the confluence of the two major waterways making it an important corridor for travel and peaceful exchanges among many different cultures.

 

Fourteen archeological sites located along the shore have rendered seal bone fragments from the Archaic Period, and remnants from the later Woodland Period, which began about 3000 years ago, which reveal much about the commerce between aboriginal cultures. European contact began in the 16th century when whalers, trappers, fishers and fur traders began exploiting the rich resources of the land and marine animals. For the native people this also marked a major break with traditional approaches to the marine environment. Aboriginal groups such as the Algonquin and the Montagnais, the Cree to the north and the Micmac to the east, arrived to trade furs creating a cultural crossroads at Tadoussac, the largest fur-trading centre in North America. In the 1800's trapping slowly gave way to logging, and pulp and paper plants, dams, power plants and massive mining operations would follow. For more than 100 years, industries along the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, the Saguenay and its tributaries have discharged tons of toxic effluent into the river system causing some of the worst pollution on the continent, possibly the world.

 

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