Parks Beyond Borders: Quebec Set To Create One Of North America's Biggest National Parks, Wales To Get "Power Pylons"

New Quebec Park Will Be One Of North America’s Largest

“If all goes according to plan,” says an article by Madison E. Rowe in The Greener Ideal, an independent environmental news and lifestyle publication, “Quebec could become home to the largest national park in eastern North America.”

Quebec’s Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet recently confirmed that the provincial government will designate a new Tursujuq National Park.

“The Parc National Tursujuq has an area of over 26 000 km, equivalent to 54 times the area of Montreal Island and will triple the area of the network of Québec’s national parks,” said Blanchet. “It is the biggest protected area dedicated to the conservation of sensitive species in northern biodiversity and the natural landscapes of great beauty on the eastern shore of Hudson Bay. Moreover, the addition of most of the drainage basin of the Rivière Nastapoka to the territory of the park enables us to achieve the goal of ensuring that protected areas cover the equivalent of 9% of Québec’s territory,” Blanchet noted.

This is the third national park to be established in Nunavik, the homeland of the Inuit in northern Quebec.

“The new park will protect not only the environment but also areas that are essential to the traditional ways of life of the Inuit and the Cree,” said Maggie Emudluk. “A determined, united pressure group headed by our communities and regional organizations working with conservation groups has fulfilled its mission, which will strengthen our confidence in the efficacy of the environmental protection regime established under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.”

The Park spreads across the eastern shore of Hudson Bay preserving spectacular ridges and large lakes. The natural resources protected by the park include harbor seals, short-eared owls, Beluga whales, harlequin ducks, and a “unique population of landlocked salmon and over 80 rare plant species are also part of the territory’s varied biodiversity.”

Pylons The “Preferred Option” for Power Transmission Near Snowdonia National Park In Wales

Britain’s National Grid has arrived at a "preferred option" to “connect wind turbines in the Irish Sea and a new nuclear power station on the tip of Anglesey to the mainland”—“build giant pylons overground across the famous landscape of the Isle of Anglesey to the edge of Snowdonia National Park.”

The story by Louise Gray in the The Telegraph said, “despite months of campaigning by local people to have cables buried under the sea, the ‘preferred option’ is to build giant pylons overground across the famous landscape of the Isle of Anglesey to the edge of Snowdonia National Park.”

The National Trust has decried the 160-foot power transmission towers—as tall as a “15-storey tower block”—fearing a decline in tourism that could result from sullying such an “iconic landscape.”

The article said, “The charity believe that the pylons should be put under the sea to Deeside, bypassing the national park and transporting electricity much closer to populated areas.”

Preservationists believe the decision predisposes the utility to a future course of action that will eventually include placing the power lines through Snowdonia National Park.

The article quoted Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, suggesting “that if the Government can afford billions of pounds in subsidies for wind farms, it can subsidise the cost of burying the cables underground or under the sea. ‘We are concerned that fine landscape, whether inside or outside national parks should not be ruined by pylons, particularly when the cost of putting them underground is coming down.’”

Preservationists say “the park already has more pylons than most of the other national parks in England and Wales.” A National Trust sokesperson said, "Not only should new pylons not be erected at nationally important sites, but existing pylons should be removed."

Comments

Just a note on the somewhat confusing park terminology used in Quebec. The "Parc National" (or National Park) administered by the province of Quebec is in reality what would be called a Provincial Park in the other Canadian Provinces, or a state park in the US. What we would call true "National Parks" north of the border are run by Parks Canada, and have Canada in their name.

Wikipedia has a good explanation of this under the title "List of protected areas in Quebec."