In Québec’s northern hinterlands,
wide open spaces rule supreme! Barely 30,000 people live in this
vast, near-virgin territory that extends for some 350,000 km²
(135,000 sq. mi.) and constitutes nearly one fifth of Québec’s
total area. The Cree, some 14,000 of whom live in nine communities
scattered along James bay and further inland, have lived here for
millennia, and call the land Istchee (Land of the People). The region
is also home to a number of municipalities whose economies are based
largely on natural resource exploitation. Interspersed with innumerable
rivers and waterways, the region is one of the earth’s last
untouched realms. Here you’ll find Québec’s largest
natural lake, Lac Mistassini (2,335 km² / 900 sq. mi.). The
lake is located in the Lacs-Albanel-Mistassini-et-Waconichi wildlife
reserve, which covers a territory as vast as Sicily! Part of the
reserve and its adjacent lands are now included in the projected
Albanel-Témiscamie-Otish biosphere reserve, a Québec
national park currently in the planning stages.
From the 49th to the 52nd parallel, the land is dominated by
the black spruce of the boreal forest, before giving way to the
taiga, which takes over gradually up to the 55th parallel. A major
caribou herd winters in the territory’s northern reaches.
Renowned for its majestic rivers and abundance of fish and game,
the region boasts many outfitters and promises hunters and fishers
a fine catch.