The Legault government will protect forests in the Pipmuacan reservoir area as part of its caribou recovery strategy, which is to be unveiled in June, he said Tuesday.

This vast territory made up of old forests, straddling the Côte-Nord and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, is the subject of a protected area project led by the Innu community of Pessamit, which wishes to protect the caribou herd that lives there and is highly threatened.

“There will be confirmed protected areas in the coming weeks,” said Minister of the Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks Benoit Charette, during the study of the budget appropriations of his ministry to the National Assembly, in response to a question from Québec solidaire spokesperson for the environment and Member of Parliament for Verdun Alejandra Zaga Mendez.

“There will also be protective measures [on] the Pipmuacan side, it’s a must,” he added.

“At this time, I can’t talk to you about the route or the area exactly, but yes there will be protection on this territory,” he said.

Despite Minister Charette’s desire to impose protective measures in the Pipmuacan sector, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests is planning logging there this year, La Presse reported on April 18.

It was not possible to find out from the office of the Minister of Natural Resources and Forests Maïté Blanchette Vézina on Tuesday whether these cuts are maintained.

Minister Charette’s statement “is a good omen, but we will have to see the strategy before declaring victory”, reacted the director general of Nature Québec, Alice-Anne Simard.

“The entire project carried out by the Innu community of Pessamit must become a protected area, and all the sectors most sensitive to the survival and recovery of woodland and mountain caribou populations must also become protected areas” , she said, recalling that this was a recommendation from the Independent Commission on Woodland and Mountain Caribou.

Until then, “the government must decree a moratorium on logging in the most sensitive forest areas, otherwise the industry will rush to go and logging there,” said Ms. Simard.

The prospect of protecting the Pipmuacan sector is also a delight for the Quebec section of the Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP Quebec), which invites the government to work “hand in hand with the community of Pessamit” to create an area there. protected by indigenous initiative.

“The protection of at least 35,000 square kilometers (km⁠2) of important woodland caribou habitat would also allow Quebec to progress towards achieving the target of [protecting] 30% of the territory and meeting the requirements Federal Species at Risk Act,” said CPAWS Quebec Biologist and Executive Director Alain Branchaud.

The Innu Council of Pessamit had not yet reacted when these lines were written.