The archipel mingan is well known for its bizarre landscape, with thousands of small islands and rock formations jutting into the sea. The islands of the archipelago are often surrounded with the limestone towers created with over the course of 500 million years of erosion. It is also well known for it's abundance of wildlife. In the areas of open water many types of whales including finback, mike, and humpback, come to feed on plankton that densely populates the sea between the islands.
Many parks are rich with wildlife, but what sets the archipel mingan region apart is the vast amount of archipelago botanicals. There are many rare plants to be found in the park. Some of the more fascinating include crawling lichens and dwarf evergreens. The archipelago botanicals even include more common species like blueberry bushes - as many a visitor knows, nature walks are rarely complete without a stop to pick some blueberries along the way.
All these archipelago botanicals come together in forming the maritime tundra. An attentive visitor will be rewarded with glimpse of a rare natural bonsai merging with more common lichen to form the base of the tundra.
As well as the archipelago botanicals, there is much sea life to be seen in the archipel mingan region. Due to its northern location, the temperature of the St. Lawrence remains very cold year round, yet a surprising amount of marine life makes its home there. You will see not only the relatively common brown algae and blue mussels, but also jellyfish and shellfish in the frigid waters.
To better understand the reasons for the wide variety of archipelago botanicals to be seen in the park, it is important to understand its topography. As an archipelago, the area defined by the park boundaries is actually a series of thousands of islands. In fact, a park visitor must even arrange for his or her own transportation to and from the various islands.
The vast number of islands provides for a wide variety of environments, and in turn a large amount of archipelago botanicals. Within the park there are salt marshes and peat bogs are found to compliment the already extensive shoreline. This provides a home to over 300 species of moss alone, not to mention almost 200 species of lichen and more than 400 species of vascular plants.
Over half of the park's territory is covered with Boreal forest, which proves home to many archipelago botanicals. Balsam Fir, White Spruce and White Birch will be found in the forest, as well as less common flora like Leafy White Orchids, Bluebead Lilies, and Northern Starflowers. An attentive visitor with interest in flora will be well rewarded exploring the parts of Mingan Archipelago National Park covered with Boreal forest.
The archipel mingan region of Quebec is well known for its scenery, and Mingan Archipelago National Park is an excellent example of this. What sets the park apart for the true naturalist is its ruggedness, and its abundance or rare and interesting archipelago botanicals. The park is less accessible then some in the surrounding region - visitors must arrange for their own transportation to the island - but those who are willing to accept the extra effort necessary to visit this park will be duly rewarded with the opportunity to see a wide range of rare flora.