Find answers to your questions. © Robert Cyr
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we reserve for camping?
You can reserve a campsite in the semi-serviced campgrounds of Mistagance, Wapizagonke and Rivière-à-la-Pêche.
Can we reserve for canoe-camping?
You cannot reserve for canoe-camping. Since weather, group experience and time of departure influence the choice of itinerary, an attendant will advise you upon your arrival. The campsites are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To make sure you spend the first night at the park, you can reserve a campsite in one of the three semi-serviced campgrounds
Is there lodging in the park?
The Wabenaki and Andrew Lodges, located on the shores of the lac à la Pêche, offer rooms and dormitories. You can reserve a place by calling Info-Nature Mauricie at 819 537-4555. A 3.5-km trek by foot, bike, canoe or ski depending on your preference and the season, will take you to these heritage lodges. They are not accessible by car.
Different types of lodgings are available outside the park. For more information, go to Office de tourisme foires et congrès de Shawinigan or dial 819-537-7249 or 1-888-855-6673.
Where and when can we observe animals?
The wildlife is omnipresent at La Mauricie National Park. Dawn and dusk are the best times to observe wildlife in their natural habitats. Be attentive and discreet. Choose a quiet, unfrequented spot and arm yourself with a pair of binoculars. In the calm of the forest or bay, you might chance upon a moose, a beaver or a loon.
You can also take a walk in the Lac-Étienne, La Cache and Lac-Gabet trails. You will find blinds and telescopes dispersed along the way. The interpretation panels will inform you on the flora and fauna in the park.
You will find advice and an observation calendar in the Discovering La Mauricie National Park guide.
How many animals are in the park?
Without any doubt, the creation of the park, in 1970, helped a number of species. Since then, the number of moose has gone from less than 40 to almost 300.
Approximately 600 beavers make the park their home.
Some 125 black bears, roam the park.
Between 13 and 20 couples of loons, nest on the park lakes every year. They are also studied and monitored.
These animals, as well as all those found in the park, are protected. When observing them, respect them and their environment. After all, they are the ones at home!
Are domestic animals allowed at La Mauricie National Park?
Even if they are excellent companions, domestic animals can harass wildlife, interfere with the environment and disturb other visitors. They are thus allowed only in places where their presence is not a threat to the environment: campsites, picnic areas and along the Parkway. They must be kept on a leash at all times. They are prohibited in the forest, in boats, on beaches, on trails and in public buildings.
Can we fish in the park?
Recreational fishing is the only harvesting activity permitted in La Mauricie National Park. It is maintained with the idea enriching your stay by bringing you in contact with an otherwise inaccessible environment. You must obtain a national parks fishing permit and a day activity permit to fish in the park. Lakes are allocated for fishing each morning by draw only (one lake per person per day): you cannot reserve your fishing activity. You can fish for brook (speckled) trout, lake trout, small-mouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch and many other species introduced during the last century and still present in park waters.
Why is it prohibited to stop over on park islands?
Stopping on an island erodes the shores, destroys vegetation and causes considerable disturbance to nesting birds and moose. The loon, for example, is a particularly fragile species and may avoid nesting on an island where humans visit. Moose also use these islands to give birth and seek refuge from predators.
Is it safe to drink the water in the park?
The answer is no. If you do, you could get backpacker's disease, also known as beaver fever.
Consuming water from natural environments (lakes, streams, etc.) puts you at risk of contamination from bacteria, viruses and other pathogenic parasites. Among these micro-organisms, Giardia is considered most often responsible for bowel diseases. It is found in waters used by humans and domestic or wild animals. Therefore, all the bodies of water in the park are likely to contain the Giardia parasite. It is present in water as a cyst and cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Symptoms appear a few days after ingestion and may persist for a long period. They include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, headaches and extreme fatigue. Ingesting only a few cysts is enough to bring on the disease. However, some infected persons present no symptoms.
Bring your own water. Water taken from natural environments must be filtered, disinfected or boiled for one to five minutes. But be careful! Cysts have been found to have a certain resistance to chlorine.
Eliminating these cysts, which can range in size from 8 to 15 microns, requires using a 2-micron micropore filter.
For more information, consult the Health Canada Web site.
What can be done to avoid coming in contact with a bear?
When hiking in the forest, stay in cleared areas and walk facing the wind. Also, make a lot of noise, such as whistling, talking, singing Bears will go away if they hear noise. You should also stay clear of potential sources of food for bears such as carcasses and areas where small fruit can be found.
Lastly, when camping, always keep food, waste and products such as cosmetics, shampoo, soap and toothpaste in airtight containers and hang them from tree branches at least 4 metres off the ground. Special food hangers have been introduced in all the backcountry camping sites.
Pick up a copy of the " You are in Black Bear Country " pamphlet to find out more about the black bear and preventative measures, on what to do if you meet up with a bear. Ask for a copy when you arrive at the park.
What to do if you come face to face with a black bear?
The first thing to remember is to stay calm! Don't run away from the animal - bears can run as fast as horses. Immediately leave the area by slowly walking back while looking at the animal and talking to it. If you can't go around the animal or retreat, wait until the bear steps away from your path. Make sure the animal has sufficient space to flee. If the bear approches, continue to walk back while talking softly. You can try distracting the animal's attention by dropping a bag or an object. The bear can become aggressive and advance towards you to get out of a situation it finds dangerous, only to back at the last moment. Do not run away! Don't turn your back on the animal or play dead.
Are there wolves in the Park?
La Mauricie is the easternmost Canadian national park where wolves can still be found. Until the initiation of a wolf ecology study in 2000, little was known about the park's wolf population. As part of the study, many wolves in the park and the surrounding area were captured. They were fitted with radio collars to track their movements and acquire sufficient knowledge to insure their protection.
Two packs of eastern wolves frequent the park. Each pack consists of 5 to 10 individuals and occupies a territory of nearly 600 km2. The eastern wolf is a sub-species of the grey wolf and is now on the Species at Risk list in Canada. It can be distinguished from other wolf species by its smaller size, fawn-coloured fur streaked with long black hair on its back and sides, and the reddish colour behind its ears. It lives in remote parts of the forest far from human development. With a little luck you may hear wolves howling while visiting the park’s backcountry.
This study revealed the alarming fact that the protection of the wolves found in the park is uncertain. The territory occupied by the two packs exceeds the 536 km2 preserved by the park. When roaming outside park boundaries wolves are vulnerable to depredation, hunting and trapping.