Modern-day coureur des bois

A landscape that was worth the effort © Victor Bruneault-Lalande
  • A landscape that was worth the effort © Victor Bruneault-Lalande
  • Victor
Modern-day coureur des bois

In creating the Base Camp of the 1000 Days for the Planet mission, Space for Life launched a movement for biodiversity. The ambassadors, people who decided to make public the action that they’re taking for the planet, are so inspiring that we wanted to share their story with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired and become an ambassador yourself!

Twenty-three days in the heart of the North Shore wilderness. Three hundred and seventy-three kilometers by canoe and on foot along the Pékans River, rising near Fermont, and the Moisie River, which empties into the Saint Lawrence near Sept-Îles. No trash left behind. Victor narrates his experience of a “no trace” expedition.

Once upon a time there was a bonfire

Victor’s memories of family camping vacations are dotted with…ecological logs! At the urging of his parents, Victor quickly assimilated the importance of leaving dead wood in the forest to nurture the miniature communities that make their homes there. The taste for outdoor adventure sown in his childhood is in full bloom now that he’s just back from his own first great expedition.

Final call for adventure

“I’d never done any river canoeing, and since the age limit for the camp was 17, this was my last chance!” With a smile on his lips, Victor gives me an account of what happened during his time with the Camp Quatre Saisons. “Everything is organized. The river is chosen and we arrive there a few days early to get everything ready on site.” Accompanied by monitors, the little group of 11 youngsters picked up invaluable experience, which some day will enable them to build their own expeditions. Among the notions transmitted, self-respect and respect for others and the environment were at the top of the list. “You can’t do what you wouldn’t want someone else to do on your land, like pulling out plants or moving things around.”

A few tips for not leaving any traces

Everything you bring in, you bring out. Wrapping is eliminated or reduced, plastic is virtually avoided, and waste that can’t be burned on site is compacted so that it can be kept until the end of the trip to be recycled. “We heated aluminum cans, and then crushed them with rocks so that they take up as little space as possible.” Saliva? Into the flames! “When we brushed our teeth, we’d spit it into the fire ring, because animals generally don’t go near it.” Since saliva has its share of human bacteria, better to limit the risks of contaminating local animal life. After all, you’re visiting their habitat. Soap gets left at home. For washing dishes and bodies, nothing measures up to a good handful of exfoliating sand! Victor adds that this precaution was taken seriously, because in every soap, even the biodegradable ones, there’s something in detergent that acts as degreasing agent. Since these products can have an impact on greases naturally present in aquatic animals such as fish or beavers, it’s preferable to avoid getting them in river water. So: the North Shore wilderness – what did Victor think of it? “I never thought I’d ever see rocky canyons like that in Québec. We saw caribou, wolves…” Landscapes and memorable observations left intact for the next explorers – it’s really worth the effort! Learn more about the “no trace” principles

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