Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Parc National de Plaisance

                                                                                                                                                                      


Wonderful Wetlands with Bountiful Beauty
 
Reviewed by Nancy Snipper

No better name could describe this park, for its unique nature ushers in a supremely pleasant experience.  Pleasures of all kinds unfold before you, for this serene park is as precious as a timeless secret about to reveal itself. Seekers of splendour and surprise will feel inspired.
Cocooned in this bastion of Northern Bayous are lush forests of exquisite daintiness; they unfold before you into a tapestry brimming in glowing verdant vistas; no painter’s palette can match the appealing effect of Plaisance’s “pretty in green” – not to mention the subtle flowering hues provided by its plants. 





Amidst the graceful leafy growth is a setting bathed in aquatic scenes: bays, marshes, ponds, petites and expansive peninsulas, aptly called Presqu’iles greet the eye.



  





Although the  park is small – about 28 square kilometres there's a matrix of cycling trails totaling 40 kilometres. 



 There are three major walking trails ranging  from 1 km to 6 km. 





The Zizanie-des-Marais walk on the suspension bridge is special.






The Zizania Palustras (wild rice) is a robust. aquatic annual grass that produces large grains eaten by people and wildlife.



Kayaking and canoeing can also stir the visitor’s senses, as it did mine. 
 
Only 148 kilometres north-west of Montreal in Quebec’s Outaouais region – Park de Plaisance benefits from the gentle breeze of the Ottawa River and its fertile ecosystem.
One of the most striking aspects of this park is  that 250 different bird species live here. The birdsong is non-stop and the variety of “music” created by the aviary choir is remarkable. I spotted a bright yellow goldfinch, a pileated woodpecker, a rose-breasted grosbeak, some robust looking robins and lots of red-winged black birds. The park plays home to all kinds of ducks and bigger winged wonders: vultures, buzzards, eagles and Kingfisher herons.







The park’s many marshes include the shrub swamp, the silver marsh, and the arborescent swamp that happens in spring. What a wonder to behold!


Because more than half of Quebec’s indigenous mammal species live here, one can see moose, muskrats (I saw one swimming towards its underwater shore home while I was canoeing), smoky shrew and the southern flying squirrel and groundhogs, even coyotes, wolves and lots of beavers. Keep your eye out for amphibians.





On June 10th, the park is almost repossessed by thousands of turtles: painted ones, snapping ones, and at least seven more different types. You can spot them along the bicycle paths.
One of the most moving, hands-on and easy to understand exhibits is called the Floating Gardens displayed inside the lovely Discovery and Visitors Centre. Here I learned that several rare trees grow right in the park, but they are threatened. They include: the hackberry with its cork crest bark, the red pine, the white spruce and other green kindred gems such as bittercross, striated coral root, Virginia mountain-mint and some odd but beautiful flowering plants are all threatened.  But the list in the wetlands here continues to include prickly horwort and Englemann’s Cyperus. Not spectacular to look at, nonetheless, these plants are vital to the continuum of the ecosystem.
As for the maintenance and recreational enjoyment of the park – thankfully Plaisance came into the nurturing protective hands of Sepaq in 2002.  
Visitors can discover that there is more than what meets your eye: the secret lies in its past through archaeology and historical ownership and use.
If you fall in love with Plaisance, check out the unique camping options there, and across from the area, you have access to the long gorgeous beach for swimming.

  

I shared the enjoyment of this park with the Montreal Adventures and Active Meetup  group, some of whom took the photos appearing in this article.
A special thank you to professional photographer, Cindy Thomas. The majority of the photos were taken by her. 
For more information, visit: parcsquebec.com/plaisance.
Call: 819 427-5334 or1800 6656527
The address is: 1001, Chemin des Presqu'îles, Plaisance (Québec) J0V 1S0