La Mauricie, Quebec on the map. La Mauricie National Park on the map of Canada

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La Mauricie, Quebec on the map. La Mauricie National Park on the map of Canada.

Far Right: La Mauricie s Waber Falls, 120 feet high, are well worth the canoe trip or hike necessary to visit them.

Below: The cliffs on Lake Anticagamac. The lakes, streams and waterfalls of the park are scattered amid rounded hills and lush forests.

La Mauricie, Quebec

Established: 1970   Acreage: 166,309

Lying near Shawinigan and Grand Mere, barely two hours by car from Montreal and Quebec City, La Mauricie National Park was established to illustrate a feature of the Canadian Shield, to which the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Precambrian Region belongs. Probably the most well-known feature in the park is the Wapizagonke-Antikagamac Passage. Ever since it was formed about a billion years ago as a fracture in the earth's crust, the passage has served as a corridor, giving the area a long and varied history.

Eighty thousand years ago, mammoths and giant cervidae crossed over from Asia to North America via the Bering Strait, which was then dry. In their pursuit was a relentless predator—man. During this time a thick ice cap covered almost all of this continent, leaving only a narrow corridor leading to the south through which both beast and man travelled. Twenty thousand years ago the North American glacier receded, leaving behind it the Laurentian Mountains, polished, riddled with basins and cut with valleys that retained the meltwater. Over thousands of years, wildlife spread and the human population increased.

More recently the Mauricie has been the home of numerous Amerindians peoples—Crees, Algonquins, Iroquois and Attikameks—who hunted, gathered and farmed. By the 1700s plentiful wild game meant furs, a precious commodity that was fashionable in Europe. After the English conquest in 1760 men entered the forests for timber. Oddly, it was Napoleon Bonaparte who sparked the exploitation of the Quebec forests. Intent on conquering Europe, the French Empire cut off timber supplies to England, which then had to look to its colonies in Canada and invest the capital to develop the local industry. Quebec soon became a thriving port and shipbuilding center. Today, the Wapizagonke-Antikagamac Passage provides endless delight for fishermen, canoers, campers and cross country skiers.

 

La Mauricie, Quebec on the map. La Mauricie National Park on the map of Canada.