History - Contact Nature
Contact Nature Rivière-à-Mars Bec-Scie Outdoor Centre Ice fishing villages Okwari Adventures Campground Au jardin de mon père

History

The Rivière-à-Mars has been an active salmon fishing river since the early 20th century.

Between 1920 and 1930, two dams were constructed which, combined with pollution and uncontrolled fishing caused a sharp decline in numbers of Atlantic salmon in the river.

In 1983, concerned people in the community formed the Rivière-à-Mars Sport Fishing Association in order to protect the resource.

In 1986, the reception chalet, the fishway and a glass observatory were built. During that period, operational activities and protection of the river were carried out on a volunteer basis by members of the organization.

From 1984 to 1995, 28 km of river were massively stocked with fish.

In July 1996, torrential rains completely destroyed the main riverbed of the Rivière-à-Mars, an event that had a devastating impact on salmon habitat and the surrounding forest, decimating populations of juvenile and adult fish. Upstream migration and spawning decreased, resulting in a decrease in tourist traffic and total fishing days.

In 2001, Contact Nature Rivière-à-Mars acquired the campground Au jardin de mon père.

In May 2008, four entities working on the Rivière-à-Mars merged to form Contact Nature Rivière-à-Mars:

  • the Rivière-à-Mars Sport Fishing Association;
  • the campground Au jardin de mon père;
  • the Bec-Scie Outdoor Centre;
  • Okwari Adventures.

This merger brought together key stakeholders in local recreational tourism in order to increase synergy between the organizations, to integrate the development of the entire corridor, to increase awareness of the sector and to enhance the tourism activities offered year-round.

In 2015, the city of Saguenay offered Contact Nature to manage the operations of the two ice fishing sites in La Baie.
In August 2018, Saguenay enhanced Contact Nature’s management contract for the two ice fishing sites for 2019, making it its fifth division.