Four National Parks and 43 hours of driving

It’s the first week of deployment for the Canadian National Parks Malaise Program for 2013. This year we’re collaborating with Parks Canada to deploy malaise traps in 14 National Parks on the eastern side of Canada, from Pukaskwa National Park in Northern Ontario to Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland. So far, we have visited four National Parks and driven for 43 hours! Our journey started in Guelph early on Monday, April 29th. We arrived at La Mauricie National Park that night, where we got the opportunity to camp-with a mound of snow as our doormat. When entering the campground we saw the boldest fox I have ever encountered. He came right up to our van and posed for us! The next morning we met with park staff and discussed the Canadian National Parks Malaise Program, as well as the role each park would play. Malaise traps were set up before we headed off to our next destination.

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Agata Pawlowski and Smera Sukumar in Mingan Archipelago National Park

Mingan Archipelago National Park was our second stop in Quebec. The scenery along the drive was stunning, as the landscape transitioned into stunted trees and small shrubs with scattered bogs. Many traditional fishing villages were located along the coast, which is the route we followed to Forillon National Park. Agata and I explored Fort Péninsule where troops defended Canada during World War II and walked along the beach, admiring the sunset with ice and snow overlying sand in the foreground. On our way to meet with park staff Agata spotted a black bear cub in the trees beside the road. This was the first and hopefully the last park where we had to set up the malaise traps on two feet of packed snow!

Leaving Quebec, we entered Northern New Brunswick and Kouchibouguac National Park. Many fascinating ecosystems are represented within this park, including white-sand dunes, lagoons, salt marshes and bogs. This week has been filled with breath-taking landscapes, wildlife, meeting with gracious park staff and of course, LOTS of driving. I look forward to exploring the rest of the East coast of Canada!

-Smera

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