The Friends of Gatineau Park have held a research forum every year since 2004. This annual event is an occasion for natural science and heritage researchers, both professional and amateur, to share the results of their research with the public and highlight the importance of research in managing and animating the Park. It also enables those who made donations to the Friends of Gatineau Park to see how some of their donation was used in supporting research.
This year’s research forum was truly an opportunity to learn new things about Gatineau Park – even for those of us who have been using the park for many years. The forum started with an update on the ecology of “wolves” in Gatineau Park, where we were introduced to the complicated genetics of the wild dog-like animals we sometimes consider coyotes, sometimes wolves and sometimes a mixture of these species. This was followed by an introduction to peat bog ecology and a preliminary look at research on Folly Bog in the southern part of the Park.
More than forty participants had a chance to chat with the researchers over a light lunch, which was followed by a look at the evolution of recreational trails in the park between 1925, when skiers largely arrived by train, and the present. Our last presentations focused on ecological corridors, which are areas external to the park connecting it with other natural areas. We learned of the search for an endangered species of turtle, the Blandings Turtle which has been found in these corridors, and ended with a photo show of the actual research activities and these very photogenic turtles.
Many thanks to the presenters for a fascinating day!
- Christie Spence, Gatineau Park biologist
- Julie Talbot, Associate Professor, University of Montreal
- Bill McGee, Member of the Friends of Gatineau Park
- Milaine Saumure, Nature Conservancy of Canada
- Michel Lemaire, Member of the Friends of Gatineau Park