Fort Témiscamingue National Historic Site of Canada
The Natural Environment
The Fort Témiscamingue site occupies a prime location on a piece of land formed by a narrowing of Lake Témiscamingue, where the two banks come closer than 250 meters to each other. The park's territory is mainly comprised of three distinct natural areas: the plateau, the escarpments and the lowlands. Overall, over 80% of the total area of the park is a wooded area with approximately 20 different stands and a number of plants from the climacic forest type of the Laurentian maple stand and the Upper St. Lawrence forest sub-region.
the historic tip of Fort Témiscamingue© Parks Canada / J. Boulet-Groulx
A wold, located at an altitude of 230 meters, makes up the largest part of the site (16.7 ha). Because of the wood harvesting that took place, the red and white pines that used to occupy the plateau were partly replaced by a younger forest canopy where pioneer species such as the large-toothed aspen, the trembling aspen and the white birch prevail. The panoramic view and the general quality of the environment offer potential for use in this area which remains unexploited.
The escarpments (6.1 ha) follow the contour of the point and carve the plateau along the two lake fronts. The cliffs are relatively steep on the west side where the average elevation is 135 meters, whereas the incline is more gradual on the southern slope. A forest of almost pure red pines colonizes these cliffs. The far southwestern corner of the escarpment has a dry Western cedar grove (occidental) (1 ha). It is a pure stand, over 100 years old, unique in the park and rare in Quebec. Known in the region as the enchanted forest, this cedar grove is currently one of the main attractions of the park.
South view: Section of native cemetery and Témiscamingue lake© Parks Canada / J. Boulet-Groulx
Finally, the lowlands (4 ha) stretch in a straight line, between the northern and eastern edges through the southwestern point and between the cliffs and the bank of Lake Témiscamingue. These lowlands include the west bank scattered with glaciofluvial blocks, the southern beach, made up of coarse sand, which extends 450 meters in length and, attached to this beach, the area which is most often used by visitors. Immediately bordering the lake, the beach is inhabited by isolated members of hydrophilic species including the willow, the black ash and even the American elm. The arborescent vegetation is found in thickets separated by long stretches of lawn. In this area we can also find the silverberry, this small shrub which is extremely rare in Quebec and is considered to be an endangered species. The silverberry is in localized thickets, primarily on the far southwest corner of the site, bordering the lake and near where the old chapel was located.