Saguenay, Parc duOne of Québec's 19 PROVINCIAL PARKS, Parc du Saguenay (established 1983, 283.6 km2) includes strips of land on either side of the RIVIÈRE SAGUENAY, from Baie des Ha! Ha! near Chicoutimi to the confluence with the St Lawrence River at TADOUSSAC. SAGUENAY-ST LAWRENCE MARINE PARK protects the waters of Fjord du Saguenay and the St Lawrence estuary.
The Laurentide plateau lies southward; the Valin massif, dissected by the Ste Marguerite River valley, lies northward. Impressive sand dunes and beaches are found near Tadoussac.
Climate and vegetation vary with altitude, the lower areas being dominated by balsam fir and yellow birch; the plateau, by white birch and balsam fir. The marine fauna is especially noteworthy, including 410 INVERTEBRATE species and 60 VERTEBRATE species (notably salmon and marine mammals).
In the 19th century, the pine forests were exploited, some settlement and farming occurred and tourism developed. Today the park is divided into preservation, ambience and service zones. The park and adjacent villages provide camping, hotel accommodation and interpretation centres. Outdoor activities include hiking, picnicking, kayaking, boating, whale watching and, in winter, cross-country skiing, SNOWSHOEING and ice fishing.