The Gatineau Park Master Plan is a document that guides the long-term planning, use and management of Gatineau Park. The plan, which will be in effect for approximately 10 years, presents the directions and strategies for the Park. It reflects past experience, new issues and new laws. It also takes into account international best practices for the management of natural environments.

About Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park is the largest natural area in Canada’s Capital Region. It is the national capital’s conservation park. It contributes to the region’s natural and cultural heritage, and its conservation is at the heart of the NCC’s mandate.

Spanning a distance of 50 kilometres between the Ottawa and Gatineau rivers, Gatineau Park covers an area of 36,131 hectares, which is about 7.7 percent of  the total area of the National Capital Region. It is located northwest of Ottawa–Gatineau, and its territory overlaps four municipalities: Gatineau, Chelsea, La Pêche and Pontiac. 

About the master plan

Pink Lake bathed in summer sunlight.

The NCC Board of Directors approved the Gatineau Park Master Plan in January 2021.

The role of Gatineau Park is structured around four key objectives:

  • Conserving nature 
  • Providing recreational and cultural experiences in nature 
  • Promoting equitable and sustainable access 
  • Fostering engagement and collaboration  

What's new in the plan?

The following outlines some of the major changes contained in the plan.

Conservation

  • Better define and protect ecological corridors.
  • Preserve strategic properties outside Park boundaries.
  • Expand Park boundaries to include adjacent NCC lands.
  • Increase legal protection of the Park.
  • Reduce the infrastructure footprint (buildings, roads, trails and so on).


Nature e
xperience

  • Implement the Responsible Trail Management project. Activities will be permitted on designated trails only.
  • Enhance the visitor experience through various activities and well-planned infrastructure.
  • Promote less-known attractions to highlight cultural heritage in the Park.
  • Concentrate activity nodes in designated areas.


Equitable and sustainable access

  • Promote alternative transportation to gradually reduce the impact of motor vehicles on the Park.
  • Promote access for all.
  • Improve user safety on the roads and parkways.
  • Formalize new welcome areas.


Engagement and collaboration

  • Integrate Indigenous culture in the Park, to contribute to reconciliation.
  • Share responsibility for and stewardship of the Park with users and regional partners (conservation and maintenance).
  • Promote public engagement by building awareness and creating a code of conduct.
  • Standardize the pricing framework for Park activities.

Action plan

Children and youth helping with the maintenance of a hiking trail.

More details about the strategic projects put forward in the master plan will be provided throughout 2021.  

The following projects are currently being implemented.  

  • Habitat defragmentation and responsible trail management
    This project aims to stop the creation and use of unofficial trails and to increase the size of the official trail network. Learn more 
  • Protection of ecological corridors
    This project aims to ensure the long-term health and connectivity of ecosystems and species in the Park and the National Capital Region.  
  • Modernization of the Philippe Lake campground
    This project aims to improve the offerings for campground visitors. 

The process

Public engagement has been an important part of the review process of the Gatineau Park Master Plan. 

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.