Kayaking in Quebec’s Baie-James Region [Video]
In this tenth episode of Paddle Tales, Ken Whiting takes us to Eeyou Istchee Baie-James in northern Quebec…
“As big as the state of California, but with a population of only a few thousand, Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is one of the most untouched and pristine lands in the world.”
Ken was eager to explore this remote wilderness area both on water and on land:
This region is far too enormous to explore in one trip, so Ken zeroes in on the Lake Chibougamau area.
Ken and his guide, tourism board member Audrey Perrault, enjoy a kayak excursion on the lake—just one of thousands in this area, as well as many rivers that are equally as beautiful.
Ken says: “You could spend a lifetime in this area and still only scratch the surface.”
Most people come for the trophy walleye, pike and trout. Hiking and paddling are also very popular and very accessible from the nearby towns.
The land is divided into three zones: Zone 1 and 2 belong to the Native Cree, which means permission is needed. Zone 3, where they paddled, is Crown Land, and available to all.
Rich in Cree Indian Culture
The Cree represent the largest group of First Nations in Canada. Not far from the lodge on Chibougamau is the Cree town of Ouje-Bougoumou, “The place where people gather.”
The beautiful Cree Cultural Institute there houses a museum, a library, archive center and cultural center. It’s a wonderful place for both native and non-native to learn about the Cree culture.
At the Institute, Harold Bosum explains how the elders were concerned their culture was slipping away. So the Institute is a place where the younger generation of Cree can learn about their culture, their crafts, their language and their historical lifestyle.
Eager for more about Cree culture, Ken headed into the bush to Nuuhchimi Wiinuu Cree Cultural Tours. David and Anna Bosum welcome guests to stay in traditional dwellings and learn about the traditional culture, including hand-made canoe paddles.
This trip provided both many surprises and great learning experiences—two of Ken’s favorite things.
About Eeyou Istchee Baie-James
Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is roughly 350,000 square kilometers (217,000 square miles), located about 800 km (500 miles) north of Montreal. It comprises about a fifth of the total area of Quebec:
The region is home to Quebec’s largest natural freshwater lake, Mistassini Lake, over 800 square miles in size.
For more information about the area, visit: EscapeLikeNeverBefore.com.
(Ken is using Aqua-Bound’s Whiskey Fiberglass Bent-Shaft kayak paddle in this video.)
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