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The Parc National Tursujuq is the biggest park in eastern North America

   The Parc National Tursujuq is the biggest park in eastern North America

PR Newswire

UMIUJAQ, QC, Dec. 14, 2012

UMIUJAQ, QC, Dec. 14,  2012 /PRNewswire/ - At  a press conference in  Nunavik, 
Minister  of  Sustainable   Development,  Environment,   Wildlife  and   Parks 
Yves-FrançoisBlanchet confirmed that the Québec government will establish the
Parc national Tursujuq, which will become the biggest national park in Québec,
but also the biggest in  eastern continental North America. Minister  Blanchet 
made the announcement accompanied by his Parliamentary Assistant Scott  McKay, 
Maggie Emudluk,  Chairperson of  the Kativik  Regional Government  (KRG),  and 
MichaelGordon,   Vice-President   Economic   Development   of   the   Makivik 
Corporation.

"The Parc national Tursujuq has an area of over 26000 km^2, equivalent to  54 
times the area of Montréal Island and  will triple the area of the network  of 
Québec's national parks.  It is the  biggest protected area  dedicated to  the 
conservation of sensitive  species in  northern biodiversity  and the  natural 
landscapes of great beauty on the  eastern shore of Hudson Bay. Moreover,  the 
addition of  most  of the  drainage  basin of  the  Rivière Nastapoka  to  the 
territory of  the  park  enables us  to  achieve  the goal  of  ensuring  that 
protected areas cover the  equivalent of 9%  of Québec's territory,"  Minister 
Blanchet noted.

It is the  third national park  to be  established in Nunavik  after the  Parc 
national  des  Pingualuit,  located  southwest  of  the  Inuit  community   of 
Kangiqsujuaq, and the Parc national  Kuururjuaq, located in the Monts  Torngat 
east of Ungava Bay near the community of Kangiqsualujjuaq.

Maggie Emudluk, Chairperson of the KRG, added: "The new park will protect  not 
only the environment but also areas that are essential to the traditional ways
of life of the Inuit and the Cree. A determined, united pressure group  headed 
by our communities and regional organizations working with conservation groups
has fulfilled  its  mission,  which  will strengthen  our  confidence  in  the 
efficacy of the  environmental protection regime  established under the  James 
Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement."

"One of the key issues in the coming years will be to protect various wildlife
and plant  species destabilized,  among other  things, by  climate change  and 
human activities.  It is,  therefore, a  question of  acting locally,  but  of 
perceiving in a  comprehensive perspective the  preservation of the  territory 
and its  natural resources.  That is  what  we are  achieving today  with  the 
proposed park," Scott McKay, Parliamentary Assistant, concluded.

A unique natural site
The Parc national Tursujuq will  offer visitors unique, spectacular vistas  on 
the eastern shore of Hudson Bay.  Part of the region includes, in  particular, 
the most imposing system of cuestas  (asymmetrical ridges) in Québec, part  of 
which will be preserved in the national park. It also features immense  lakes, 
including Lac Guillaume-Delisle,  which is linked  to Hudson Bay  by a  narrow 
channel called  "the  bottleneck,"  which  the  Inuit  call  Tursujuq.  Lac  à 
l'Eau-Claire, located just to the east, is the second biggest lake in  Québec, 
with an area of 1226 km^2.

The  future  park  will  protect  several  sensitive  components  of  northern 
biodiversity and habitats. Mention should be made, among other things, of  the 
harbour seal population, a  species likely to be  designated as threatened  or 
vulnerable in Québec, which lives in the Lacs des Loups Marins sector.  Beluga 
whales in the  eastern Hudson  Bay, harlequin  ducks, short-eared  owls and  a 
unique population of landlocked salmon and over 80 rare plant species are also
part of the territory's varied biodiversity.

Teamwork
The establishment of the national  park stems from collaboration between  the 
Québec  government,  the  Aboriginal  communities  of  Umiujaq,  Kuujjuarapik, 
Whapmagoostui and  Inukjuak, the  Makivik Corporation  and the  KRG. It  falls 
within the  scope  of  the  implementation of  the  Partnership  Agreement  on 
Economic and Community Development in Nunavik(Sanarrutik Agreement),  ratified 
in 2002.

Minister for  Aboriginal Affairs  Élizabeth Larouche  noted that  "the  Québec 
government wishes  in this  way to  abide by  the agreements  signed with  the 
Aboriginal nations  in its  territory. This  huge national  park will  protect 
natural sites  that the  Inuit and  the  Cree, who  have frequented  them  for 
thousands of years, cherish, and will ensure harmonious relations between us."

Minister responsible for the Nord-du-Québec  region and Minister for  Canadian 
Intergovernmental  Affairs  and  Sovereignist  Governance  Alexandre  Cloutier 
wished to  convey  the  following  message: "The  establishment  of  this  new 
national park in Nunavik proves the importance of perseverance and negotiation
to carry out a common project of  this scope. The Parc national Tursujuq  will 
be a source of pride  for everyone who helps us  to discover it in the  coming 
years, but also Nunavik, the Nord-du-Québec region and Québec overall."

Following the establishment of the Parc national Tursujuq, the government  and 
the KRG will sign an agreement to assign to the latter the park's  management. 
In addition  to a  budget to  manage the  park, the  KRG will  have a  capital 
expenditure budget  estimated  at  $8million over  five  years.  Accordingly, 
$3million will  be  invested  initially  to  build  a  reception  centre  and 
garage-warehouse and to rebuild the access road to the Parc national Tursujuq.

Source:                                    Information:
Catherine Salvail                          Ministère du Développement durable,
Press Officer                              de l'Environnement, de la Faune
Office of the Minister of Sustainable      et des Parcs
Development, Environment, Wildlife and     Telephone: 418-521-3991
Parks
Telephone: 418-521-3911

SOURCE Cabinet du ministre du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la
Faune et des Parcs

Contact:

Source:
Catherine Salvail
Press Officer
Office of the Minister of Sustainable
Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks
Telephone: 418-521-3911

Information:
Ministère du Développement durable,
de l'Environnement, de la Faune
et des Parcs
Telephone: 418-521-3991