Table of contents

For more information about this draft management plan and for any other information about Forillon National Park:

Forillon National Park of Canada Administrative Office
122 Boulevard de Gaspé,
Gaspé, Quebec G4X 1A9


Telephone: 418-368-5505
Fax: 418 368-6837
parcscanada.gc.ca/forillon


Executive Summary

Forillon National Park is located at the northeastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Quebec. The park was established in 1970 with the aim of saving and representing the terrestrial natural region of the Notre-Dame and Megantic mountains, as well as some aspects of the marine natural regions of the Laurentian Channel and the Magdalen Banks, within the federal network of protected areas.

This management plan is the fifth plan created for Forillon National Park. It builds on the main accomplishments made since the 2010 management plan, including, in particular, improved relationships with the local community, which has led to the creation of an advisory board consisting of several regional partners and multiple organizations; collaborations developed with the Regroupement de personnes expropriées de Forillon et leur descendance (persons expropriated from Forillon and their descendants); and the finalization of an agreement with the Nation Micmac de Gespeg in 2009. Since 2009, close to $80 million has been invested in the park’s infrastructures and facilities.

Ninety-five percent of the park’s territory is covered in forest, which is home to a wide range of wildlife and flora, including several at-risk species. In addition to its natural resources, Forillon National Park is unique in that it is also home to many cultural resources that bear witness to the Indigenous peoples whom once occupied the area, and the area’s commercial fishing past (commercial fishing within the park’s territory ended in the mid-20th century). Many of the buildings that were used by the families of fishermen and farmers on the peninsula before the park was created still remain today and add an interesting heritage component to the park’s visitor experience. Its distinctive coastal landscape, hiking trails and campsites are increasingly popular, as reflected by the sharp increase in the number of visitors to the park since 2013.

This management plan includes a long-term vision describing Forillon National Park’s aspirations for the coming 15 to 20 years. It also presents four key strategies designed to help the park achieve said vision, each strategy includes specific and measurable objectives and targets.

Key strategy No. 1

A Vision to Achieve Together

Key strategy No. 1 is titled “A Vision to Achieve Together.” This strategy relies on close collaboration between Parks Canada and local communities and partners to promote Forillon National Park and manage the park in a more cooperative manner, which reflects regional values and concerns. This strategy also emphasizes the contribution of the Nation Micmac de Gespeg.

Key strategy No. 2

An Evolving and Healthy Natural Environment

Key strategy No. 2 is titled “An Evolving and Healthy Natural Environment” and prioritizes the park’s ecosystems. This strategy calls for particular vigilance with regard to Forillon’s coastal marine environment and its forest, which are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Key strategy No. 3

A Unique Cultural Heritage to Protect and Promote

Key strategy No. 3 is titled “A Unique Cultural Heritage to Protect and Promote” and expresses the Agency’s desire to expand its knowledge about the park’s many cultural resources, better preserve them, and share their heritage value with the public. The park’s collection of historical objects, cultural landscapes and archaeological resources are covered in this strategy.

Key strategy No. 4

A Top Destination Due to its Wealth of Natural and Cultural Assets

Key strategy No. 4 aims to make Forillon “A Top Destination Due to its Wealth of Natural and Cultural Assets.” By combining the natural and cultural components, this strategy addresses the creation of memorable occasions for visitors throughout the four seasons. It aims to broaden the park’s range of services and activities, so that Forillon National Park can put itself forward as a must-visit recreational tourism destination.

Two areas (Grande-Grave and Cap-Bon-Ami) have been identified as requiring a more supported management approach than the rest of the park. Specific objectives and targets for the somewhat unique challenges of these areas are presented in the management plan.

Finally, this plan presents the zoning in Forillon National Park, which has remained unchanged since 2010 with the majority of the park’s territory located in Zone II—Wilderness, which accords the park a high level of protection.


1.0 Introduction

Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and historic places in the world. The Agency’s mandate is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Future-oriented, strategic management of each national park, national marine conservation area, heritage canal and national historic site administered by Parks Canada supports the Agency’s vision:

Canada’s treasured natural and historic places will be a living legacy, connecting hearts and minds to a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada.

The Canada National Parks Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act, require Parks Canada to prepare a management plan for each national park.

The Forillon National Park of Canada Management Plan, once approved by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada and tabled in Parliament, ensures Parks Canada’s accountability to Canadians, outlining how park management will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate.

Canadians, including the Nation Micmac de Gespeg, regional partners and members of Forillon National Park’s Advisory Board, were involved in the preparation of this draft management plan, helping to shape the future direction of the national park. The plan sets a clear and strategic direction for the management and operation of Forillon National Park by articulating a vision, key strategies and objectives. Parks Canada will report annually on progress toward achieving the plan’s objectives, and will review the plan every ten years or sooner if required.

This management plan is not an end in itself. Parks Canada will maintain an open dialogue on the implementation of the management plan, to ensure that it remains relevant and meaningful. The plan will serve as the focus for ongoing engagement on the management of Forillon National Park in years.


2.0 Significance of Forillon National Park

Established in 1970, Forillon was the first Parks Canada national park in the province of Quebec. The park is located within the limits of the town of Gaspé, at the northeastern tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Quebec. The park is also located on traditional Mi’gmaq territory, and the Nation Micmac de Gespeg is located close to the park.

Forillon National Park protects and area of 244.8 km2, representative of the terrestrial natural region of the Notre-Dame and Megantic mountains (240.4 km2) and some aspects of the marine natural regions of the Laurentian Channel and the Magdalen Banks (4.4 km2). It is recognized as an important site for the protection of unique natural environments, a variety of habitats and of some at-risk species. The marine natural region of the Laurentian Channel, which surrounds the park, is an important feeding ground for abundant and varied marine life in the summer (marine mammals, seabirds, fish). The rugged topography characteristic of the Appalachian Mountains, the wildlife and flora representative of the boreal forest, as well as the alpine tundra flora were also reasons why the area was designated a national park. Furthermore, the park’s exceptional geology and geomorphology are of national significance for the science community. The coming together of marine and terrestrial environments at Forillon is quite simply is spectacular.

Forillon’s rich history, which grants the park a unique edge due to the fact that it has high cultural value in addition to a high natural value, also contributed to its designation as a national park. Its history, as well as its cultural resources, including landscapes, are as fascinating as the wildlife and flora that call the park home. Indeed, human presence and the area’s prior occupations have shaped Forillon’s history. First inhabited by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years, seasonal fishermen began to flock to the area in the 1670s, using the long beach (Grande-Grave) to prepare their cod. When France ceded New France (1763), the area received an influx of people from Canada and overseas, in particular from the Channel Islands, first travelling and later settling down on the Forillon Peninsula. These communities primarily made their livings from cod fishing. Logging, and to a lesser extent whale hunting, were also sources of income from many residents. In 1970, the area was expropriated by the province of Quebec, then transferred to the federal government for a period of 99 years in order to create a national park. Some 225 families had to leave their properties and close to 1,200 landowners lost their lumber lots and parts of their cultivated land. This expropriation resulted in significant changes to the former residents’ family, economic and social lives.

Today, as the park enters its 50th year, visitors can enjoy Forillon National Park between June and mid-October (Thanksgiving). In 2018–2019, close to 165,000 visitors came to the park. Almost 68% of said visitors were from Canada, 4% from the United States, and 28% from other countries. Eighty-eight percent of Canadian visitors to Forillon National Park were residents of the province of Quebec, and approximately 10% were residents of the Gaspé area. Visitors enjoy the park’s campsites, hiking and cycling trails, recreational offshore fishing, bathing, interpretation activities, cruises and other nautical activities, its heritage sites and wildlife observation sites, as well as the flora and landscapes.


3.0 Planning context

This management plan is the fifth plan created for Forillon National Park. The previous management plan was published in 2010, at which point in time the park’s main challenges related to integrating the park into its environment, increasing park attendance and improving the state of its infrastructures. The plan contained strategies reflecting local and regional concerns and produced meaningful results.

Achievements since 2010

Improved relations with the local population, stakeholders and partners are among the main accomplishments made since 2010. This was made possible through various actions that created opportunities for discussion, which had a positive impact on public opinion and which increased the number of local residents participating in activities at the park. These actions include the establishment of an advisory board, which brings together many regional commercial, institutional and tourism partners, collaborations with the Regrouprement des personnes expropriées de Forillon et leur descendance (persons expropriated from Forillon and their descendants), and the creation of a dedicated Parks Canada outreach team. The park’s efforts to enhance its presence regionally have resulted in an increase in the number of partners who support its activities. Forillon is now recognized as a vibrant park with which it is beneficial to collaborate.

The finalization of an agreement with the Nation Micmac de Gespeg in 2009 for the establishment of a new partnership, the creation of the Micmac de Gespeg interpretation site, and the subsequent establishment of a co-operation management board also helped to strengthen ties with the local Indigenous community. The development of interpretation activities about Mi’gmaq culture in the park, the traditional lodgings project in the Cap-Bon-Ami area, and the first Mawiomi (a traditional Mi’gmaq celebration) in 2017 demonstrate the park’s strengthened ties with the community and reflect the two parties' willingness to continue along this same path. Furthermore, in the context of the Government of Canada’s process of reconciliation, a new agreement between Parks Canada and the Nation Micmac de Gespeg is currently being negotiated. Said agreement will contain provisions for governance, the practice of traditional gathering and hunting activities, the enhancement of Mi’gmaq culture, and economic and employment opportunities for members of the Nation.

Some of the accomplishments made in the last decade have also fostered the development of expertise within the park in terms of adapting to climate change. The relocation of a section of road located close to the coast and the restoration of the Cap-des-Rosiers beach, carried out in collaboration with the Université du Québec à Rimouski, are great examples of projects that have been completed in response to the issues of climate change. The construction of a durable road link in the Penouille area also demonstrates the park’s leadership to counter the effects of erosion and damage caused by storm surges, which are exacerbated by climate change.

Finally, park attendance has significantly increased over the past ten years. The rise in the number of visitors to Forillon National Park is attributable to the increased promotional efforts carried out with local partners and the renewal of the park’s visitor service and activities offer, including new accommodation choices, new guided activities and a renewed visitor experience in the Penouille area. Forillon is proud to be a leading summer destination for the tourism region of Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Challenges and opportunities for the coming years

Proud of all it has accomplished in the past decade, Forillon National Park is optimistic about the future. However, the park does need to address a number of issues it currently faces. The geographical challenge remains, and due to the excellent results obtained in terms of increased park attendance, promotional efforts must be maintained in order to continue to attract visitors to Forillon, despite the considerable geographic distance for many of them. Promoting the park is also essential for setting Forillon apart in the region’s recreational tourism offer, which also includes two parks managed by the Société des Établissements de plein air du Québec (SÉPAQ). The park’s distance from large urban centres also entails much higher costs of construction, transport and goods. Recruiting staff is also more challenging due to the lack of workforce in the region.

Climate change, and more specifically rising sea levels, rising temperatures and the increasing intensity of storms, has significant consequences that affect the management and operation of the park on many levels.

Coastal erosion alone is a threat for some buried cultural resources (archaeological resources) and for the maintenance of infrastructures and amenities much appreciated by visitors (beaches, roads, trails, wharfs, etc.). Although not yet documented at Forillon, we believe that rising temperatures will also affect the ecological integrity of the park, fostering the appearance and development of new species of wildlife and flora, to the detriment of native species. The increasing frequency and intensity of coastal storms cause damage to some of the park’s buildings and installations in addition to modifying the dynamics of coastal ecosystems. These numerous environmental changes increase the pressure on ecosystems and infrastructures, and could significantly affect the future management of the park and its operations.

Ninety-five percent of the park’s territory is composed of forests, therefore maintaining its integrity still remains a challenge and a top priority for the coming years. In addition to being susceptible to the effects of climate change previously described, forest disturbance regimes may also be modified (e.g. the cycle of insect pest epidemics, the fire regime, recurring windthrow). Furthermore, the forest must contend with newly observed trends in the population of animal species, some of which are hyperabundant in the park. For example, the increase in the park’s moose population may alter plant life and affect forest renewal dynamics, which could then lead to a domino effect of other ecological issues. Likewise, connectivity with the greater Gaspesian ecosystem continues to pose a challenge for some animal species, including martens and fishers.

Moreover, managing the increasing park visitation numbers—between 2013 and 2018, the number of visitors to the park increased by 38% and the number of nights spent in the park’s campsites increased by 70%—is also a challenge. These are very satisfactory results and exceed the visitation targets set in the 2010 management plan. While this result is readily welcomed by Parks Canada, its partners and the local communities, it does call for careful reflection. In fact, for many weeks in the summer period, the park’s campsites are filled to capacity and visitors pour into the park’s facilities and trails. If park attendance continues to rise, it may eventually affect the visitor experience as well as the park’s wildlife and flora. It is therefore appropriate to highlight the potential of off-season use of the park in terms of quality experiences for visitors and visitation numbers for the region’s tourism industry.

Finally, the numerous installations and buildings (239 assets) that enable the park to offer such a wide range of visitor services need constant care to ensure they are adequately maintained. Close to $80 million has been invested in the park’s infrastructures in the past ten years. Thanks to this investment, a significant number of infrastructures has been restored and upgraded, including campsite service buildings, the Fort Peninsula battery and Route 132.

Nevertheless, most of the visitor facilities were erected during the 1970s and 1980s and have become dated and poorly adapted to the park’s operational needs and the expectations of visitors. In addition to these infrastructures, the park is home to many (27) heritage structures that hold an important place in the region’s collective memory, and whose value lies in their ability to evoke and recount the territory’s rich human history. These buildings require specific care and expertise to ensure their conservation. Some of them are already in an advanced state of deterioration.


4.0 Vision

La vision représente les aspirations pour le parc national Forillon pour les 15 à 20 prochaines années. Elle exprime le futur souhaité pour le parc et inspirera les gestionnaires du parc de même que ses collaborateurs et ses partenaires dans leurs décisions et orientations de gestion. La vision présentée ci-dessous reflète donc les résultats anticipés de la mise en œuvre de l’orientation de gestion proposée dans le présent plan :

In 2030, Forillon National Park will continue to be recognized for the authenticity of its majestic natural and cultural landscapes. With its towering cliffs, lush boreal forest, abundant marine and terrestrial wildlife, Forillon National Park will remain a symbol of harmony between the land and the sea. The rich history of the park’s previous occupations, be it Indigenous, commercial or agricultural, will be remembered and valued through the ruins and through the constructions that have been preserved, and which bear witness to the long-standing relationship human beings have maintained with the area.

Gaspesians and visitors alike will enjoy exploring the many different trails, magnificent points of view, and relaxing beaches where they can drift off to the sound of the waves. Forillon National Park will work hard with local communities to promote the park as a must-visit tourist destination and in order to offer the activities and services that visitors will appreciate.

Appreciation of Forillon National Park will be increased through:

  • Its openness and willingness to work in close collaboration with the communities that have ties to the park, including the Nation Micmac de Gespeg and the Regroupement des personnes expropriées de Forillon et leur descendance (persons expropriated from Forillon and their descendants), so that Forillon can be recognized as a place of reconciliation;

  • Its determination to value and share the history of the park’s prior occupants, by conserving and protecting the cultural landscape that bore witness to their past, and by making them an integral part of the park’s program;

  • Its methods of celebrating this fertile and protected area (which is sacred for the Mi’gmaq Nation), and by working in collaboration with the Nation to incorporate Indigenous traditional culture and knowledge in the park’s operations, the activities offered, and in the decision-making process;

  • Its leadership and best practices that will have been implemented to ensure a constant balance between park use and the protection of its resources, between quantity and quality;

  • Demonstrating its capacity to adapt and be flexible, to successfully and creatively address the challenges of nature and climate change by implementing mitigation and adaptation measures in harmony with the natural evolution of ecosystems, and of coastal ecosystems in particular;

  • Striving to improve the connectivity of the species that populate the park and its ecosystems with the Gaspé Peninsula as a whole;

  • Its capacity to renew and reinvent the way it manages infrastructures and the visitor experience, in order to increase visitor satisfaction and sense of attachment.

5.0 Key strategies

Forillon National Park’s management plan includes four key strategies. Each strategy prompts the park to aim for high performance standards, while addressing the main challenges and new emerging trends, and to benefit from local opportunities and more collaborations.

The key strategies presented below describe the main approaches that will help guide the park’s management for the next 10 years, in order to achieve the desired vision over time. There are precise objectives and associated targets for each key strategy to enable Parks Canada to measure progress made toward achieving the plan’s objectives in the coming years. The approaches listed in this section take into account Forillon National Park’s abilities and available resources. Nevertheless, some undertakings may eventually require additional funding or rely on partnership agreements with external collaborators.

Key Strategy 1:

A vision to achieve together

Forillon’s 2010 management plan confirmed the park’s role as a leading attraction for the region and indicated that the park would not be able to achieve its objectives in isolation. Still to this day, the management approach put forward relies on promoting the park through increased collaboration between Parks Canada and local communities and partners. Contribution from the Nation Micmac de Gespeg is intrinsic to the success of this strategy. Through this strategy, Forillon commits to taking into consideration the concerns and values of those who helped shape the park’s territory long before the park was created, as well as the expectations of local communities, when making management decisions and through its operations. The involvement and support of our tourism, municipal, academic and scientific partners will result in a more cooperative management approach for the park, and enable the park to continue to play its role as a major tourism and economic lever for the region.

Objective 1.1:

Local communities and partners have a stronger sense of attachment to the park.

Targets

  • Forillon’s Advisory Board meets at least two times per year.
  • A volunteer program is implemented by 2030.

Objective 1.2:

Expropriated families and their descendants have the opportunity to contribute to the development and implementation of projects in line with their interests.

Targets

  • At least one meeting is held annually with the Regroupement des personnes expropriées de Forillon et leur descendance (persons expropriated from Forillon and their descendants) to discuss and develop joint priorities.
  • As specified in the action plan created jointly with the Regroupement de personnes expropriées de Forillon et leur descendance, new initiatives and activities are developed by 2025.

Objective 1.3:

The governance model created with the Nation Micmac de Gespeg enables Parks Canada to integrate and reflect traditional Mi’gmaq values and knowledge into the management of Forillon National Park.

Targets

  • The cooperative committee meets regularly, at least twice a year.
  • Traditional Mi’gmaq names are integrated into the park’s toponymy by 2023.
  • Traditional Indigenous hunting and harvesting activities are reintroduced in the park by 2025, in accordance with the provisions of agreements in place.

Objective 1.4:

Education and outreach opportunities are optimized and enable Forillon to reach Parks Canada’s target audiences, in particular the younger generation, and to raise their awareness to the park’s themes.

Targets

  • The number of contacts established during external outreach and promotional events increases (year of reference: 2019).
  • A school program proposing a renewed complementary learning experience is offered from 2020.

Objective 1.5:

Forillon has an increased presence in the media and promotional campaigns for the Gaspé Peninsula.

Targets

  • By 2022, the number of followers on social media pages managed by Forillon National Park increases by 10%.
  • In collaboration with local partners, a new marketing plan for Forillon is developed and implemented by 2022, then revised every three (3) years.

Key Strategy 2:

An Evolving and Healthy Natural Environment

In keeping with the Park’s Canada mission, conserving the ecological integrity of the park’s ecosystems is at the forefront of our management priorities. Furthermore, Forillon has already contributed to this priority by collaborating on targeted investment programs, such as the Nature Legacy for Canada Initiative. However, ecosystems are not static and their ability to adapt, in particular to climate change and land fragmentation, must be considered in the park’s long-term management approach. This strategy calls for particular vigilance with regard to Forillon’s forest - 95% of the park’s territory is covered in forest—and to the coastal marine environment, which are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It also aims to further promote the impressive work accomplished at Forillon National Park in terms of conserving natural resources and restoring environments and natural processes. Integrating traditional Indigenous knowledge in the management and protection of certain species (wildlife and flora) and collaborating with the science community and other protected areas in the region are also integral aspects of this strategy and its objectives.

Objective 2.1:

The health of the forest ecosystem improves.

Targets

  • The moose population reaches a level that ensures the viability of ecosystems by 2030, in accordance with the hyperabundant moose management plan.
  • The state of medium-sized carnivore populations (fishers, martens, foxes, lynx) improves in the next State of the Park Assessment.
  • The study of potential travel corridors for animal species carried out in 1994 is updated by 2025, in order to determine the potential for connectivity with the greater regional ecosystem.

Objective 2.2:

Progress is made in the conservation of at-risk species.

Target

  • The at-risk species site plan is implemented by 2030.

Objective 2.3:

Ecosystems that have been subject to anthropogenic disturbance are restored.

Target

  • A re-naturalization program for Route 132’s former route through the park is started by 2022.

Objective 2.4:

The most recent climate change data is used to guide the park’s management approach and operations.

Targets

  • The impacts of climate change continue to be monitored.
  • An evaluation of the park’s state of vulnerability to the impacts of climate change is carried out by 2025.
  • An examination of the priority measures for adapting to climate change is carried out for the park’s infrastructures and its most at-risk cultural resources.

Objective 2.5:

Conservation efforts and scientific progress made at Forillon are better recognized.

Targets

  • Starting in 2021, the results of certain scientific projects carried out at Forillon by Parks Canada or its partners will be shared annually through the interpretation programs for visitors.
  • Research projects and natural resource conservation projects carried out at Forillon will be published in the media at least once per year.
  • By 2021, scientific research projects and results will be made accessible and shared with the public online and during public outreach activities.

Key Strategy 3:

A unique cultural heritage to protect and promote

Many vestiges of the area’s prior occupations still exist and hold a significant cultural value. Indigenous artifacts, remains of the area’s fishing and agricultural past, and traces of expropriated former communities form part of Forillon’s landscape and the region’s collective memory. This characteristic grants an interesting cultural dimension to the park that sets it apart from other protected areas in the region, enabling the park to broaden its activities program. This strategy therefore expresses our desire to expand our knowledge about the many cultural resources in the park, better preserve them, and better share their cultural value with the public, with the support of national Parks Canada programs, such as History of Canada, and the support of relevant regional partners and the Mi’gmaq Nation. Over time, this strategy will contribute to rekindling regional pride and increasing the public’s sense of attachment to the park. Although this strategy targets all of the park’s structural cultural resources, those in the Grande-Grave area will be prioritized during the term of this management plan. A separate management approach containing specific objectives has therefore been developed for this area. This approach is outlined in section 6.1.

Objective 3.1:

The level of knowledge and the conditions for conserving Forillon’s historical objects improve in order to ensure their conservation in the long-term.

Targets

  • The collection inventory is updated and a periodical inventory procedure is implemented by 2025.
  • The heritage value of each historical object is identified and its status of cultural resource is confirmed by 2030.
  • The conservation conditions of objects stored in the Grande-Grave accessory buildings (satellite reserves) are improved by 2022.
  • The conservation conditions of objects displayed at the park are evaluated and any required remedial measures are taken by 2025.

Objective 3.2:

The heritage value of cultural resources is better shared with the park’s visitors and the general public.

Targets

  • Non-personalized interpretation tools (e.g. interpretation panels) and the interpretation activities delivered by the park’s staff or by the park’s partners are updated by 2030 in order to share more up-to-date information about the heritage value of the park’s cultural resources.
  • Content about the heritage value of Forillon’s cultural resources is published (online, social media, events, etc.) each year in order to reach a wider audience.

Objective 3.3:

The Nation Micmac de Gespeg and Parks Canada work in collaboration to conserve, protect and present Mi’gmaq culture and heritage.

Targets:

  • Each year, at least two activities about Indigenous culture are offered in the interpretation program, in collaboration with the Nation Micmac de Gespeg
  • By 2025, a framework is developed in collaboration with Mi’gmaq partners to expand our knowledge about the Indigenous archaeological resources in the park.

Objective 3.4:

Significant cultural landscapes are identified and identified and preserved to reflect the park’s history with the public.

Targets:

  • An inventory of cultural landscapes is completed by 2025.
  • Studies on priority significant cultural landscapes (in accordance with projects and challenges) are carried out by 2026.
  • An action plan to conserve and enhance priority significant cultural landscapes is developed by 2030.

Objective 3.5:

Archaeological resources are better identified, documented and protected.

Target:

  • Archaeological sites threatened by coastal erosion are identified by 2025.
  • Mitigation or conservation actions are implemented for the most at risk resources by 2030.

Key Strategy 4:

A top destination due to its wealth of natural and cultural assets

For a long time, Forillon has borne witness to the close relationship human beings have with nature. Indeed, the many different experiences offered at Forillon National Park enable visitors to enjoy the park’s picturesque setting and its ecosystems while learning about the history of its past occupants and their ways of life. By combining the natural and cultural components, this strategy addresses the creation of memorable occasions throughout the four seasons. Driven by market research and careful planning of the visitor experience, it aims to broaden our range of services and activities, so that Forillon National Park can put itself forward as a must-visit recreational tourism destination.

Objective 4.1:

More spread out and improved management of park attendance ensures a high quality visitor experience.

Targets:

  • By 2025, the number of visitors to the park between Labour Day and Thanksgiving increases by 10% (year of reference: 2018).
  • Activities offered to visitors during the off-season are expanded by 2025.
  • A traffic and parking management plan is created by 2025.

Objective 4.2:

The interpretation program offered to visitors is renewed through a new interpretation plan integrating natural, cultural and historical components, as well as Indigenous knowledge.

Target:

  • At least one new interpretation activity is offered to visitors annually starting in the first year of the implementation of this management plan.

Objective 4.3:

The accommodation offer in the park is enhanced in response to the expectation of target clientele.

Targets:

  • New, alternative accommodation choices are implemented by 2022.
  • The number of nights spent in the park increases by 10% (year of reference: 2018).

Objective 4.4:

Forillon is recognized for its wide range of recreational activities and related services.

Targets:

  • New catering services are added by 2022.
  • Visitor satisfaction for the overall activities offer is maintained or improves in the next Visitor Information Program (VIP).
  • A new land-use plan is created for the Cap-Gaspé area by 2025 (in order to improve accessibility, infrastructures and services).
  • The Trail Plan is implemented by 2030 to optimize the park’s hiking network.

Objective 4.5:

Efforts to upgrade the park’s visitor facilities and buildings continue and their condition improves.

Targets:

  • The overall condition of built assets improves and achieves the rating of “fair” or “good” in the next State of the Park Assessment.
  • A long-term maintenance and intervention plan is developed by 2025 in an effort to define the priority actions for the maintenance of the park’s assets and infrastructures.

6.0 Management areas

Two areas within the limits of Forillon National Park require a more specific management approach. These are the Grande-Grave area, located on the north shore of the Bay of Gaspé, close to the south area entrance to the park, and the Cap-Bon-Ami area, in the eastern section of the Forillon Peninsula, facing the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Adopting of an area-specific management approach for these areas is justified due to their rather unique management challenges that require a more focused management approach than the rest of the park, and also due to the areas’ particular significance for the general public and local communities. Thus, in addition to the key strategies previously presented that also apply, specific objectives and targets have been developed for these two areas.

Specific management approach for the Grande-Grave area

Area description

The Grande-Grave area is named after a former community that was established on the southern side of the Gaspé Peninsula before the park was created. It is a designated “heritage site” due to the number of heritage buildings still preserved to this day, in addition to the archaeological remains and landscapes that still bear witness to the area’s prior occupation hundreds of years ago. The local population and the park’s visitors have a strong sense of connection to this area that grants Forillon National Park a unique edge. The 2010 management plan called for the Grande-Grave area to be focused on as a prime area for the commemoration of the park’s former villages, as a way of recognizing the legacy left by the area’s past occupants.

Since 2010, renovation work has been undertaken on the Blanchette site, the Joseph-Gavey house, and the Grande-Grave wharf, which required immediate attention to ensure their conservation. A study was also carried out in 2015 to better assess the value of Forillon National Park’s cultural resources and to eventually help with their conservation and promotion.

Main Challenges and Opportunities Specific to the Grande-Grave Area

Many of the 17 buildings and accessory buildings that make up the Grande-Grave area were built in the late 19th century, and due to a lack of regular maintenance, many show undeniable signs of advanced deterioration. Despite the investments made in the past few years for some of them, it is urgent to act to preserve the area’s heritage buildings, which bear witness to the families who lived in and shaped the area. Their restoration would also enable the park to develop a more authentic visitor experience.

Objectives and targets specific to the Grande-Grave area

Objective 1:

The physical integrity of heritage buildings and structures is improved to conserve their heritage value.

Targets:

  • Heritage buildings and structures used by visitors are in good condition and their public access is ensured in the long-term.
  • An intervention program is established by 2025 to confirm the vocation and to commence the restoration of the heritage buildings located in the Joseph-Gavey, Daniel-Gavey, Elias-Gavey and Charles-Bartlett sites.
  • Knowledge of burial grounds increases, and a conservation plan is completed by 2030.