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PLAN NORD: Outfitters need to be key partners

12 February 2012

PLAN NORD: Outfitters need to be key partners

Written by Julien Cabana -Outdoors, Hunting and Fishing Columnist – Journal de Québec

If the government is serious about making the outdoor activities part of its Plan Nord project a reality, it needs to make major partners of outfitters.

Recently, several elected officials and many civil servants have discovered the beauty and richness of northern Québec. They have enthusiastically declared that this region will save our society in the coming years. But if we had just given more credibility to outfitters, who were already able to offer unique outdoors, hunting and fishing activities in that little-known corner of the province, the wealth of the region would have been discovered long ago. Instead, we focused on industrialization in cities and villages, almost to the complete exclusion of a huge part of Québec. Through all this, outfitters were the only ones to understand that northern Québec is a unique treasure.

 Taming this wilderness

Northern Québec extends over a million square kilometres where only a few Inuit, Cree, Naskapi and Innu communities have lived for generations. They have learned to live in what might be called a vast desert which, despite its sterile and almost moonlike appearance, has a lot to offer.

Those First Nations mostly lived practicing activities based around their respective communities. The arrival of outfitters in northern Québec opened new horizons, with technologies and means of transportation that completely changed the face of the place. Whether in the North Shore region, from Tadoussac to Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon, or in the tundra, these missionaries were able to work with nature, and more importantly, to learn how to live in harmony with it. Over the years, they developed transport and hospitality infrastructures that enable them to provide completely unique experiences in nature. Watching caribou herds stroll by, navigating large, untameable rivers or travelling through four seasons in a single day are all things outfitters can make you experience. Further north, you’ll get polar bears and seemingly miraculous fishing expeditions with species like the Arctic char. If you’re even luckier, you may encounter muskoxen. Whatever your idea, outfitters can help you make it a reality.

Through their experiences in the field, both good and bad, they were able to design safe and unique experiences that let you discover this hidden face of Québec.

 The expertise is there

Outfitters don’t often seem to feature prominently as partners in the government’s Plan Nord projects. Yet without them, this whole adventure might never even have taken off.

It’s not news that outfitters supply services to mining companies surveying the field. They were the ones who provided the accommodations, transport and logistics that allowed the companies to plan the development currently being considered. Without outfitters in the area, they wouldn’t have gotten very far, especially in the tundra.

When it comes to facing down arctic tempests, foreseeing bad weather or dealing with a situation that could turn deadly for most, northern outfitters are experts.

The only possible choice

Whether you’re a fishing, hunting or outdoors fan, if you want to have an adventure in the North Shore region or in the Québec Great North, you need the services of an outfitter.

Of course, they have the infrastructures, but they also know the area like no one else and can help make your trip a success. When you’re standing on vast expanses of land that seem to stretch to infinity, feeling like you’re alone in the world, believe me: you’ll be glad you have outfitters’ assurance and expertise on your side to ensure your safety. Where do I fish? Where do I hunt? Where can I catch unique sights? These are all questions they can easily answer. Keep in mind that their goal is to have you enjoy a unique adventure, with a good harvest, so you feel like coming back.

For a once-in-a-lifetime adventure catching trophy trout, fishing for salmon or Arctic char, harvesting caribou, or watching muskoxen or polar bears, northern outfitters are your only option.

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