Did you know? 5 interesting facts about Eeyou Istchee Baie-James

Explore the wildlife of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James!

It is no secret that Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is huge! With its 350,000 km2 and its 30,000 or so inhabitants, we can hardly say that the region is densely populated... with humans! However, life abounds everywhere: in the soil, on the ground, in the air and in the water. It is infinitely small or larger than life. One thing is certain, this vast territory is home to a host of animal and plant species. The fauna and flora of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is abundant, surprising, and breathtaking.

We invite you to explore it!

But do not forget that the entire territory of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is occupied by Cree families. Each plot of land is divided into traplines, a traditional family territory. So no matter where you set foot, remember that a tallyman is taking care of this area. Act respectfully.

1. The Matsutake

Did you know that the king of wild mushrooms calls Eeyou Istchee Baie-James home? The matsutake mushroom grows in the lichen/moss mat in the jack pine forests. Although it is sometimes unknown in Quebec, the mushroom is famous in Japan, where it is a symbol of fertility.

Its popularity causes some headaches: it must be picked properly to renew itself... Its picking season is relatively short: about four weeks in early fall, in September.

Other Edible Delights

A variety of other edible mushrooms and plants grace the flora of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James.

Creeping snowberry. You saw it right! It looks like someone dropped their Tic Tac on the ground. But these are the delicious fruits of the creeping snowberry. Its leaves can also be infused. But beware, this plant contains methyl salicylate, a close relative of aspirin. It is therefore important to avoid consuming too much of it. Those who are taking blood thinners or who are allergic to aspirin should avoid it completely.

Labrador tea. Simply brewed with a piece of ginger, this is a perfect warm drink to use during winter outings.

American green alder. The catkin of the American green alder, abundant in Eeyou Istchee Baie-James, can easily replace pepper to add flavour to your recipes!

Berries. Blueberries, raspberries, cloudberries, cranberries, dwarf raspberries, skunk currant, serviceberries, and crowberries (to name a few): you will find enough to make an excellent boreal fruit salad.

Fireweed. These large purple flowers are rich in vitamins A and C, in addition to coloring a plate! Its young shoots, picked in spring, can be cooked like asparagus, while its flowers and leaves, harvested at the beginning of flowering, will enhance your summer salads.

The experts from FaunENord will be happy to guide you in discovering the treasures of the flora of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James.

Animal Paquin, in the northern sector of the route Billy-Diamond, and Pierre from Les Écogîtes, in the Matagami area, will generously share their knowledge of the flora and fauna of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James!

2. The Polar Bear

Did you know that you do not have to go to the end of the ice pack to observe polar bears? James Bay is the species' southernmost habitat. While the colony is mainly on the Ontario side, the animals move to the coastal islands which you can explore. Since borders do not stop polar bears, it is common to see them on the Quebec side.

Come aboard with Wiinipaakw's Cree guides for a larger-than-life excursion!

3. The caribou

Did you know that Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is also home to the king of the forest? The majestic herds travel from Nunavik to our region every year in search of new pastures. Although hunting is no longer permitted, the beauty and prestige of the animal will appeal to photographers.

In winter, the herd be seen at Radisson and Chisasibi. The route Transtaiga is also a good place to observe it.

During your roadtrip on the route Transtaiga, stop at Mirage Aventure, where a host of services await you.

4. Mistassini Lake

Did you know that Mistassini lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in Quebec? With its 2,335 km² of surface area, this lake is not just a lake: it is a real inland sea! Its reputation is well established, as it is home to a multitude of fish species that interest fishermen of all kinds. Speckled trout, lake trout, northern pike, walleye: the lake offers something for everyone.

Its many islands, bays and capes make it easy to get lost. In fact, a huge 3-metre rock at the mouth of the Rupert River has earned it the name Mistassini, which means "big rock" in Cree. So it is highly recommended to be well-prepared before exploring this lake. The regulars will tell you that, when the wind picks up, it is better to be safe on the shores!

To go on an adventure on this impressive lake, book your stay at the Louis-Jolliet Camp or Osprey Lodge. The Cree guides are experts on this immense body of water, and they will share its secrets with you in complete safety!

5. Geology

Did you know that Eeyou Istchee Baie-James has rocks dating back to the Archean age, which varies between 4.3 and 2.5 billion years? In fact, Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is in the Superior geological province, which contains the oldest rocks in the world!

The Superior Province is also known for its gold, copper, zinc, and nickel deposits.

Discover the mining history of Chibougamau with the Le chemin des mines tour, a ten-kilometre route that takes you back in time!