The forests of the Reserve des Laurentides offers a perfect habitat for a variety of mammals, including black bear, moose and caribou.
The mixed forest along the riverbank consists of largely of yellow birch and sugar maple, whereas away from the river conifer-rich boreal forest predominates – black spruce in particular. Its 23 mammal species include: black bear, bobcat, raccoon, grey wolf, otter, moose, white-tailed deer and caribou, with birds such as barred owl, American kestrel, and osprey.
The Jacques-Cartier River flows across Québec province to join the Saint Lawrence 30 kilometres upstream of Québec City. First Nations people fished and trapped here for millennia, and Jesuit missionaries used the river as a natural highway.
For over 200 years logging was a major activity, and logs were floated to sawmills downstream. The Laurentian Wildlife Reserve was created in 1895 to provide opportunities for forestry, fishing and hunting. The construction of roads to Lac Saint-Jean made the area more accessible, then in 1972 a proposed hydro-electric scheme threatened to flood the entire valley, but the government relented in the face of strong opposition.
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