OPÉMICAN NATIONAL PARK IN TÉMISCAMINGUE IS NOW A REALITY!
Ville-Marie, January 15, 2014 – On behalf of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks, Yves-François Blanchet, the MNA for Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue, Gilles Chapadeau, is proud to announce the official creation of Opémican National Park, which will generate over $40 M in investments in Témiscamingue over the coming years.
“We successfully carried out this project in less than a year, since the Premier of Québec announced her intention to create Opémican National Park in Témiscamingue on March 21, 2013. The Québec government has completed all legal and administrative steps to officially establish the park, the 26th in Québec’s national park network. The Témiscamingue region is now represented in this vast network that protects part of the biodiversity and natural heritage of Québec and its regions,” said Minister Blanchet.
Opémican National Park occupies an area of 252.5 km2 and consists entirely of public lands. It will be divided into four distinct sectors: the Rivière Kipawa and Lac Témiscamingue cliffs sector, as well as the Pointe Opémican, Lac White and Île aux Fraises sectors. In order to meet the demands expressed by various stakeholders during the public consultation, some initially targeted portions of the territory, namely Île McKenzie and the Pointe du Rocher au Corbeau peninsula, were excluded from the national park’s boundaries. However, to ensure their protection, steps will be taken to grant them permanent biodiversity reserve status, which will make it possible to address concerns raised on this subject at the public hearing held in June 2012.
Environmentally speaking, Opémican National Park helps achieve the objectives of the network of protected areas, particularly in southern Québec. It also supports the protection of a portion of the shores of Lac Témiscamingue and Lac Kipawa, Rivière Kipawa, several lakes, streams and wetlands, old-growth pine forests and various plant and wildlife species, including the Peregrine Falcon, a vulnerable species that nests in the territory.
In addition, the new national park will contribute to the preservation and development of the region’s cultural heritage since the buildings on the Opémican historic site will be restored. These include the Auberge Jodoin, the third oldest building in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
Benefits for everyone
The construction of quality infrastructure in Opémican National Park will make sections of this protected area more accessible to the region’s entire population. It will also help raise awareness about Témiscamingue and the whole region as a genuine tourist destination.
“I wish to reiterate that the economic benefits of Opémican National Park in Témiscamingue are estimated at approximately $7.5 M annually and that some 30 new jobs will be created there. A portion of those jobs are aimed at young people, so the national park’s creation will surely slow their exodus to big cities and foster the retention of newcomers in the region. The new national park therefore represents an important lever for diversifying Témiscamingue’s economy and enhancing the development of the tourist industry across the region,” noted the MNA for Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue, Gilles Chapadeau.
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