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The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park:
An Area to Discover in Depth!

For the week of Monday May 23, 2011

From May 19-23, 2002, more than a thousand participants from 132 countries attended the World Ecotourism Summit in Quebec City. During the Summit, participants produced a series of recommendations (the Québec Declaration on Ecotourism) for the development and management of ecotourism world-wide, based on the principles of respect for the environment, fragile ecosystems and local populations. For this work, participants were rewarded with the opportunity to visit the magnificent Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, which covers the entire Saguenay River and the northern half of the St. Lawrence Estuary. At this powerful intersection of fresh and salt water, an up swelling of nutrients creates a rich source of food for a variety of marine life.

Kayaking along cliffs of the Saguenay Fjord
© Parks Canada / J.F Bergeron
Upon their arrival, participants were offered different ways to experience the natural treasures of the park: from a four-hour kayaking excursion through the Saguenay fjord, to a relaxing scenic cruise on the St. Lawrence Estuary. The kayaking excursion brought participants centimetres from the water and allowed them to intimately explore the fjord. They got up close with a variety of marine mammals, birds and plant life, and had the chance to admire the sensational cliffs that surrounded them. Those who preferred to take a leisurely and educational cruise along the St. Lawrence Estuary, the deepest in the world, could very well have been visited by a number of different sea mammals, such as seals, humpback whales, or St. Lawrence beluga whales, only to name a few.

 

A group of whales surfacing. A popular sight at the Marine Park.
© Parks Canada / R. Michaud

Parks Canada, Parcs Québec and a number of local organizations have been dedicated to the preservation and the presentation of the marine environment and rich ecosystem Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park within the context of sustainable development and ecotourism. A visit to the Park was a perfect way to mark the end of the World Ecotourism Summit. Moreover, it was a great opportunity for Parks Canada to showcase to the world one small part of Canada’s treasured natural beauty.

A total of four Marine Conservation Areas have been designated and are administered by Parks Canada: Fathom Five National Marine Park, Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage SiteLake Superior National Marine Conservation Area of Canada, and Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. To learn more about these fascinating examples of our natural and cultural heritage, follow the links above or see the National Marine Conservation Area of Canada section of the Parks Canada website.

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