- Why do we need a park? The main objective for creating the Albanel-Témiscamie-Otish Park is the preservation of its natural integrity as well as the cultural integrity of the Eeyou Itschee. Other objectives include regional economic benefits, integration of Cree cultural activities in tourism projects or programs and job opportunities in ecotourism for Mistissini youth.
- What are the benefits of a park? The Cree Nation of Mistissini and the Government of Québec will be involved as partners in the future management of the park. The creation of this park will allow:
Will the park occupy any Category I lands? No. The park will partly occupy Category II and will be mostly on Category III lands.
Will the park occupy any Category II lands? Yes, in part, but the hunting, fishing and trapping rights of the beneficiaries provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) will not be affected.
Will JBNQA beneficiaries still be able to hunt, fish and trap everywhere within the park? Yes, as before its creation. Because the JBNQA takes precedence over the Parks Act, JBNQA beneficiaries will be able to continue to hunt, fish, trap and build camps in the park. Cree beneficiaries will have the opportunity to suggest ways of harmonizing their hunting, fishing and trapping activities with the offer of tourism activities.
Which role will have the tallymen in the management of the future park? As specified in the Provisory Master Plan of the future park, tallymen will continue to be the guardians and the protectors of the rich cultural and natural environment in which they live. If they so wish, they will become the hosts to visitors on their trap-lines. This will give the tallymen or members of their families the possibility to participate in controlling the access of non-beneficiaries and to have a say on the offering of activities on their trap-lines.
Will Cree outfitters be allowed to operate in the park? Yes, but they will not be able to offer hunting packages to non-beneficiaries. Fishing packages as well as guided canoe, kayak and trekking excursions will be permitted, depending on park management guidelines developed with the support of the community. In addition to the actual offer of sport fishing, Cree outfitters will be able to expand their offer of activities by promoting ecotourism and outdoor activities.
- a better control of the access of non-beneficiaries to the park territory, on Category II and III lands, which is not the case presently;
- an opportunity to develop ecotourism businesses for Cree promoters;
- job creation and training for employment;
- the integration and the presentation of the Cree culture and history to visitors of the world.
Things You Should Know
Cree Hunting, Fishing Trapping Rights Will Be Fully Protected
The Crees will maintain full hunting, fishing, trapping and associated land use rights as guaranteed by the James Bay Agreement and the tallyman working through the park management process will have the right to limit or even reject tourism activity on their traplines.
Protection of Cree Territory and Resources
The 11,000 km2 of the proposed ATO Park includes some of the last remaining undisturbed boreal forest and waterways in northeastern Québec. It will provide a major level of protection for the land, waters and biodiversity of this large sector of Cree territory. The Return of Lands and Tourism Assets to the Cree All non-Cree outfitters or owners of private camps presently operating or located within the boundaries of the ATO Park will be bought out and these areas will once again be returned to the tallyman and their families.
Creation of Culturally Based and New Economic Opportunities
The ATO Park will create a variety of opportunities for the Cree of Mistissini that will include both traditional knowledge and skills as well technical mapping and computer skills currently being acquired by Cree youth. Together these will provide employment in full time park and tourism related services and Cree business development opportunities in the tourism sector of the local economy.
Training and Educational Opportunities
The employment opportunities that the ATO Park will create will be supported by the development of park and tourism focused training programs that will be established through the participation of other Cree entities including the Cree Human Resource Development (CHRD), the Cree Outfitting and Tourism Association (COTA) and the Cree Cultural Institute. Since the park will be an economic driver for many years the Cree school Board and post secondary educational programs will also play an important role.
Should you have any other questions, please contact:
Kevin Neeposh, Park Coordination Officer, (418) 923-3461 ext. 254