The reservation requirement and the limits on the number of visitors per day will henceforth be the norm in SÉPAQ parks.
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These measures had been put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic to limit traffic in the parks.
For Pierre Lavoie, co-founder of the Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie, this is not a good decision.
“Those who want to enjoy nature shouldn’t be trapped into booking in advance in a limited group,” he believes.
The Réseau plein air Québec agrees.
“It goes completely against our vision of accessibility and the spontaneity that is required to be able to practice outdoor activities,” says Anick Saint-Denis, Executive Director of the Network.
SÉPAQ tries to be reassuring and explains its decision.
“A tool like this, which is the online purchase of daily access rights, ensures that we can properly manage the traffic in the parks and that we do not come to exceed the reception capacity of these parks,” explains Simon Boivin, spokesperson for SÉPAQ.
He confirms that it is however possible for the parks to increase the number of access rights offered for sale according to the forecasts and the reality on the ground.
Despite these restrictions, SÉPAQ still recorded record attendance during the pandemic.
The number of visit days increased from 5.7 million in 2019-2020 to 8 million in 2020-2021.
For outdoor stakeholders, the main issue is to maintain equity in the accessibility of Quebec’s national parks.
“The SÉPAQ is still a public organization that should be able to allow everyone to have equal opportunities to access this territory,” underlines Anick Saint-Denis.