Nunavik lies at the very north of Quebec. The region is known for its rugged terrain and breathtaking views.
For millennia, the remoteness of this vast territory has protected its natural characteristics, landscapes and wildlife. Some of the highlights include the exceptionally pure waters of Pingualuk Lake and its round crater, the dramatic peaks of the Torngat Mountains and the diversity of species living in Tasiujaq and Wiyâshâkimî Lakes.
Our mission at Nunavik Parks is to protect and showcase the landscapes and attractions that so aptly represent the region’s natural and human heritage. Special care is taken to develop and operate the parks sustainably. Traditional and scientific knowledge inform our conservation efforts as well as the recreational and educational activities available on site, so that regional, national and international visitors can learn from them.
The Nunavimmiut people are the stewards of Nunavik’s national parks. Acting as protectors and ambassadors, the park’s Inuit employees cherish these special places, considered living expressions of their heritage to share and protect for future generations.
How National Parks are Created in Nunavik
The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks is responsible for planning and developing Quebec’s national parks system, as well as overseeing its management. In addition to preserving these lands, the government must ensure they are accessible to the public for the purposes of education, discovery and outdoor recreation, provided these activities are compatible with the overarching protection objectives.
Nunavik’s parks (those north of the 55th parallel) are operated by the Kativik Regional Government (KRG). The KRG has also been tasked with carrying out studies leading to the creation of national parks in the area.
In the early 1990s, land areas that effectively represent the natural regions or that contain exceptional formations were identified and set aside for park use by a ministerial order issued by the Quebec government. These areas were then included in the Kativik Land Use Development Plan, produced by the KRG.
Before a park is created, affected communities are invited to information and consultation sessions, where the procedure and related issues are explained. Communities are given the chance to ask questions and express their interest in the project. If the response is positive, a work group is then created, with representatives from the Quebec government and various stakeholder groups, including KRG, Makivik, northern villages and any affected land corporations.
The work group then determines a study area where studies are conducted by the KRG to characterize land use, as well as the physical, biological and socio-economic environments. This includes a literature review of the history, climate, geology, geomorphology, archeology as well as plant and wildlife inventories. Community members are asked to participate in field work. The results of these various studies, as well as other considerations (accessibility, services and economic development) are then presented in a Status Report. This report will outline which special features require special conservation provisions and which ones should be highlighted, including the park’s most interesting areas.
Parks' Development Plans
The Quebec government uses the Status Report and recommendations from the work group to inform their Development Plan, which describes the area’s conservation priorities and development potential (activities and services). The plan also specifies the park’s borders and zones.
Economic, environment and social impact studies are then carried out by independent firms to assess the provisions of the Development Plan. Once these are complete, public hearings are held by the Kativik Environmental Quality Commission (KEQC) and the Quebec government in the villages affected by the project. These two hearings can be held jointly. They allow Nunavik Parks to present the project to communities and to answer any questions the public may have. This is where community members can express their concerns and opinions about the project. Community feedback helps the government improve the Development Plan, which will be used to guide the actions of park managers and allow the KEQC to make its final decision.
The project is then submitted to the Quebec government and published in Quebec’s official gazette. Then, if it is accepted, the government can then proceed with the creation of the park and therefor, Nunavik Parks manage it.