Forillon National Park
By: Julia Iturriaga
Forillon National park is home to Canada's furriest national animal, the beaver! The park is divided into many rivers and streams making it the perfect place for beavers to settle. Since the park opened in 1970, the population has increased greatly making the beavers an important component to Forillons ecosystem. Forillons National Resource Conservation Service works together to protect the beavers and conserve there dams.
The black-legged kittiwake is another unique species found in the park. Kittiwake birds look very similar to segals, but are distanced by there vestigial hind toe, which has no claw. Every year thousands of these pelagic birds fly to the shores of Forillon to bread during the summer. These unique birds spend almost all of there lives offshore. They drink salt water and enjoy sleeping peacefully while drifting on the waves.
Grey seals and harbor seals are another fascinating animal that can be found in the park. There are about 60-100 seals that inhabit themselves in the shoreline of the northern rocks. The harbour seals normally come around mid-May. These means that they give birth by mid-June in the surrounding waters on the Peninsula. The grey seals make there entrance with there young to rest on the parks rocky shores.
Since the park opened in 1970, Parks Canada has restored many historical and authencic buildings found in Forillon. After extensive care, the 26 buildings are known open for tourism. The buildings are filled with thematic exhibitions, films, interpretation activities and historical animations making this a family friendly learning experience. The Grande-Grave Heritage Site is one of the most popular buildings. Its known for its beautiful surroundings and excellent reinterpretations of the lifestyles lived by the fisher folk who once lived there in the late 1800's. During the period of the 19th century, many families settled along the Forillon shoareline. They made a living by fishing for huge exporting companies and by farming.
Preliminary archaeological surveys were made by Parks Canada in 1994, due to that a paleohistoric Amerindian presence was found in the Anse au Griffon Valley (which can know be scientifically proven). Four sites have given phenomenal material evidence, in the form of stone splinters. Which meant tool making was once carried there. Three out of four of these sites once occupied ancient terraces of marine origin. These terraces where natural platforms which were excellent for visual surveys of the surrounding landscape.
Forillon National Park is located in the province of Quebec. Its one of the 42 national parks and park reserves across Canada. In fact, it was the very first national park in Quebec. It is located in Quebec at the outer tip of the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec. In total the park covers about 244km2.
Forillon National Park is the perfect place for exploring rock formations. You can find ten separate and easily visible geological formations. These geological formations were made millions of years ago. Many rocky structures can be found throughout the park. They have a long geological history and have bear eloquent witness to the fascinating movements of the Earths crust that created the Appalachian mountains.
The park is located in a sea cliff region. Therefore, its not surprising how rugged the surface features are. The topography of the southern part of the park, is influenced by tectonic forces of about 20 to 30 degrees on an angle. Resulting in a large amount of ranges inclined towards the sea of the south, and the rocky cliffs running parallel to the coastline. On the other hand, the northern half of the park has a more rolling relief, about 300m in height. The landscape is divided into many narrow entrenched valleys which all lead to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Red oak is one of the plants found in the park. Red oak is one of the 58 species of oak present in the whole North American continent! Ecologically speaking, it is a very important part of the ecosystems. Many different types of animals eat its acorns. The red oak is extremely rare in Forillon National park. Therefore, preserving them is very challenging. A restoration program was created on the basis of the species ecology. The program uses a range of techniques and experiments that will be tested by scientists in the next few years. These experiments are designed to restore and protect the regeneration of the red oak. Right know there are about 44 known red oak sites, which are all in the northwest portion of the park. In total, there are about 300 red oak individuals across the parks land. Many scientists believe that if no action is taken to reserve the red oak, they can be easily replaced by other common plant species.
- The term forillon was used in 1534 by Jacques Cartierin with his accounts of his voyages to Canada.
- The name forillon is now associated with the Peninsula harbouring the magnify- cent national park that proudly bears the same name
- Forest makes up 95% of the park's land
- The Penouille Peninsula, which is a long sand spit reaching 1.5 kilometres into the sea, is host to over 40 species of lichen
- The parks name in French is Park National de Forillon