Harmonization of Land Uses in the Groulx Mountains

In News

Representatives of Uapishka Station participated in a dialogue meeting on the practice of snowmobiling in the Groulx Mountains on May 14 and 15, organized under the aegis of the Uapishka Biodiversity Reserve Management Committee. This meeting brought together the government, followers of motorized activities, hikers and skiers, a Groulx Mountains defense association, and the main hosts (Uapishka Station and Relais Gabriel). The meeting’s objective was to identify a new solution to issues relating to the preservation of the Biodiversity Reserve’s ecological integrity, the harmonization of customs and mountain safety.

While this issue has aroused a lot of discontent in the past, all participants noted how far positions had evolved in the spirit of collaboration. Every individual had the opportunity to present his or her analysis of the situation, his or her proposed solutions, and his or her potential contribution to the implementation of identified tracks.

Consensus on Two Main Points

Firstly, it was agreed to recommend that the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change (MSDEFACC) renew and strengthen its existing framework of understanding, which previously tested as a pilot project, allows motorized access to the summit zone (otherwise prohibited), allowing traffic only in the presence of qualified guides. Thus, the government could introduce a limit on snowmobilers next year, based on the availability of guides, increased surveillance on the mountain and better dissemination of information about current rules, in partnership with the community.

The Innu Council of Pessamit and Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve (RMBMU), both Uapishka Station promoters, pledged not to accommodate snowmobilers who do not respect protocol. Furthermore, Raymond Rousselot, Vice-Chief of the Council and its sponsor for Uapishka Station, says that “Uapishka Station wants to ensure that the land be protected and Pessamit involved in monitoring the mountain and coordinating guides. There will be many job opportunities for the community in the implementation of the protocol.”

Secondly, it was agreed that an alternative trail would be laid out with the goal of providing an access option which steers snowmobilers clear of the prohibited area and the necessity to be accompanied by guides. This route was proposed and defined by the snowmobilers who participated in the meeting and a consensus was reached amongst those present.