Take advantage of the tourism season… differently!

By Anne Minh-Thu Quach

When planning our leisure time or our vacations, we think about the fun we’ll have. We wonder about the weather forecast, but we rarely think about the impact of our activities on the environment. Yet between global warming and the desire to have a healthy lifestyle, more and more Canadians are embracing ecotourism.

Since the 1980s, ecotourism has developed an enviable position in the competitive tourism market. These types of activities allow us to live out our environmental conservation efforts and promote increased understanding and appreciation of nature, all the while enriching our cultural knowledge about our region.

What better way to unwind than to take advantage of the wide variety of activities available in the region? There’s something for everyone and every budget!

On beautiful summer days, there is nothing more refreshing and fun than spending a nice day at the beach with family or friends. The Îles de St-Timothée regional park, with its white-sand beach and wide range of outdoor activities, is the perfect spot.

Would you rather be under water than on the beach? Trade the motor boat or jet ski for a pleasure craft that won’t cost an arm and a leg in gas. Hop in a kayak at Kayak Safari or the Scabric to experience the serenity of Rivière-à-la-Truite and the Châteauguay River.

Our waterways also offer hidden treasures that deserve to be discovered. Why not head to Lac Saint-François for a dive? The wrecks that dot the lake and the aquatic wildlife of the underwater park make it a destination not to be missed.

National parks, whether provincial or federal, also offer great ecotourism opportunities, as do our regional parks. In Beauharnois-Salaberry, we have fantastic parks, like Robert woods and the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle regional park, which are perfect for family hikes, as well as the Battle of the Châteauguay National Historic Site. If you’re looking for an opportunity to observe nature even closer, the Lac Saint-François National Wildlife Area is for you. With the help of their expert team trained in bioecology, ornithology and tourism, you can discover some of the most diverse fauna and flora on the planet.

If you prefer cultural activities to discover the history of the region, you’ll certainly enjoy the Droulers site, which offers visitors a unique experience with its representation of traditional Iroquois life. There are still traces of the biggest Iroquois village in Quebec.

There is also the Pointe-du-Buisson Quebec Museum of Archeology, which seeks to document over 5000 years of history in the region. A real cultural gem, the museum organizes several exhibits, including one that gives visitors the chance to be an archeologist for a day.

And since Beauharnois-Salaberry is known as Quebec’s garden, your vacation wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the farmers’ markets of Beauharnois, Huntingdon, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and St-Cyprien de Napierville, where you can find what you need for a BBQ with your friends, all the while discovering our unique local flavours. For real foodies, the Circuit du paysan is ideal for cultivating a true appreciation of the region’s food and artisan products.

And of course this overview of ecotourism activities wouldn’t be complete if I forgot to mention the bike paths that allow you to discover our region in a new way.

Enjoy your vacation, the good things in life and think of the environment!