The Gatineau Park Master Plan is a document that guides the long-term planning, use and management of Gatineau Park. It is reviewed every 10 years, to ensure that it takes into account past experience, new issues and regulations, and international best practices in the management of natural environments. The plan was last refreshed in 2005.
The latest on the review process
The NCC is in the final stage of updating the Gatineau Park Master Plan. The final phase of consultation in the review process ended on September 20, 2020. The feedback collected during this phase will be taken into account in drafting the final version of the plan which will be submitted to the Board of Directors for approval in January 2021. A report that summarizes participant feedback will be published on our website.
Over the previous consultation phases, the first of which was launched in 2017, there have been several opportunities to contribute to the direction of this plan. Public input collected during each phase of consultation is summarized in a report, available here.
What remains the same?
Despite significant changes, the revised master plan will reconfirm the following elements from the 2005 plan:
- Gatineau Park’s core identity remains as the National Capital Region’s conservation park. (p.21)
- Internal and external ecological connectivity remains a central pillar of the plan. It continues to promote links between the Park and other natural spaces, and to protect the quality of internal natural habitats. (section 4.1, p.34-36)
- Gatineau Park is a place to experience the outdoors in a manner that respects the environment. (section 3.2, p.29)
- The plan continues to pursue transportation alternatives that aim to increase equitable access to the Park, and limit the impact of vehicles on the visitor experience, wildlife and user safety. (section 3.3, p.31)
- The plan reaffirms the NCC's intent to review the Park’s fee structure, to make access more equitable, support conservation initiatives, and cover costs related to maintenance and improving the Park’s recreational offerings. (section 5.4.4, p.60)
What's new in the plan?
You’ll find below a summary of some of the important changes we’ve made to the plan as part of the review process. We’ve included links to the relevant parts of the plan, should you want to learn more about the details of each initiative.
- Protect the ecological corridors and other environmentally significant properties that surround the Park. (section 5.1.5, p.46 + p.37)
- Seize opportunities to expand the Park’s boundaries by including significant NCC lands next to Gatineau Park. (p.37)
- Restrict public access to the Eardley Escarpment and the area west of the Eardley-Masham Road, to protect vulnerable habitats in this conservation zone. (p.68)
- In partnership with users, relocate the snowmobile trail at Curley Lake to a proposed recreational corridor along the Eardley-Masham Road. (p.71, p.79: policy #4)
- Limit recreation to trails and parkways, to minimize damage to natural habitats. (p. 36; p. 50 5.2.1 a); p. 77)
- Implement the Responsible Trail Management initiative, which will add 100 km of trails to the official trail network, and close over 200 km of informal trails. (section 7.1, p.110 + 5.1.2, p.44)
- Create an area of limited recreation on the Eardley Escarpment (climbing and hiking only) to increase habitat quality and protect species at risk. (p.73-75)
- Establish guidelines that limit the extent and location of infrastructure inside the Park to decrease the overall footprint of buildings, and increase habitat quality. (sections 5.1.2 + 5.1.3, p.44-45)
- Better integrate Camp Fortune into the Park’s recreational offerings. Connect the trail networks for mountain biking, cross-country skiing and hiking, and include starting points for these activities at Camp Fortune. (p.97 7th bullet)
- Reduce light and noise pollution that disturb wildlife. (section 5.1.4, p.46)
- Establish rules to regulate the use of drones in the Park to protect animals and users, and promote a peaceful recreational experience. (section 5.2.6 c, p.52)
Equitable and sustainable access
- Increase parking capacity at the edges of the Park (section 5.3.4, p.57), and create a limited number of access points from nearby neighbourhoods to encourage car-free access to trails. (section 5.3.3 a) & b), p.56)
- Make access to the Park as inclusive as possible by limiting exclusive activities for interest groups (e.g. events), which tend to exclude general access by the public. (section 5.3.5, p.57 + section 5.2.9, p.53)
- Establish new visitor centres at Luskville and the Relais plein air to improve the provision of services to local communities and forge new partnerships. (section 4.3 - p.39 + p.107)
Engagement and collaboration
- Establish a road map for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. (section 5.4.1, p.59)
- Embrace a cultural shift toward sharing the responsibilities of Park stewardship, maintenance and conservation with users and partners. (section 5.4.2 & 5.4.3, p.59)
- Limit marketing initiatives to messaging about user education and conservation, except in the case of camping, to ensure that traffic to and within the Park remains sustainable and supports positive visitor experiences. (section 5.4.3, p.59)
Full draft plan
The summary above provides just a snapshot of the updated plan’s contents.
Here are additional shortcuts to different parts of the plan:
- Environmental Components (p. 17)
- Heritage Elements (p. 18)
- Goals and Strategic Directions (p. 25)
- Important Lands Outside the Park (p. 37)
- Gatineau Park Planning Concept (p. 41)
- Land-Use Designations (p. 65)
The process to date
The latest review of the Gatineau Park Master Plan has taken place in four stages.
Public engagement has been an important part of this process from the very beginning. To date, the Gatineau Park Master Plan review has included
- 13 public consultations in Ottawa, Gatineau, Chelsea, La Pêche, and Pontiac
- 4 meetings with the Public Advisory Committee
- 5 online questionnaires
- several meetings with representatives from Algonquin Anishinaabe communities
- 1 dedicated Urbanism Lab session
- more than a dozen meetings with local municipalities, elected officials and stakeholder groups
The feedback provided by participants has informed the drafting of the plan at every stage of the process. Public input collected during each of phase of public consultation is summarized in a report, available here.
Public Advisory Committee Members
The Public Advisory Committee (PAC), formed on October 12, 2017, meets regularly throughout the process to be an important sounding board and to share in-depth information. It is composed of a balanced representation of various areas of interest for the Park, including the environment, heritage, recreation, residents and business.
Sandra Beaubien (Recreation)
Michel Prévost (Historian)
Jacques Dumont (Recreation)
Tom Young (Local resident)
Janet Campbell (Recreation)
Joanne Hamilton (Local resident)
Benoit Delage (Sustainable development)
André Groulx (Regional tourism)
Nik Lopoukhine (Park management expert)
Chris Chapman (Recreation industry)
Stephen Woodley (Environmental expert)
Sophie Routhier Leblanc (Student)
Katharine Fletcher (Writer and historian)
To be determined (Indigenous representative)
Gershon Rother (Local resident and Park volunteer)
Bob Brown (Advisory Committee on Universal Accessibility)
Barry McMahon (Advisory Committee on Universal Accessibility)
- 2005 Gatineau Park Master Plan (17.16 MB)
- 2020 Gatineau Park Master Plan (60.82 MB)
- Gatineau Park Master Plan Review Public Consultation Report - Phase 3 (14.37 MB)
- Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan: Summary (4.78 MB)
- Gatineau Park Cultural Heritage Plan (1.75 MB)