Sustainable Development - Contact Nature
Contact Nature Rivière-à-Mars Bec-Scie Outdoor Centre Ice fishing villages Okwari Le Fjord Campground Au jardin de mon père

Sustainable Development


Contact Nature engages in consolidating and integrating the principles of sustainable development in all of its activities. 

More precisely, the organization took the following commitments, as with the sources cited: 

Develop recreotouristic activities that fully take in account of the current and future social, economic and environmental impacts, by answering the needs of visitors, professionals, the environment and of the local communities. 

Respect the sociocultural authenticity of the local communities, preserve their living and built culture as well as their traditional values, and contribute to the tolerance and intercultural comprehension. 

Guarantee long-term viable economic activities bringing to all involved parties positive equitable socio-economic value, notably possibilities of stable jobs, stable income, social services for the supporting community as well as contributing to fighting poverty. 

Offer respectful visits of the environment permitting to appreciate nature (as well as cultural elements past and present), promoting the conservation et allowing a positive and active socio-economic implication for the local population. 

Référence: Global Sustainable Tourism Council, 2019, Sustainable Development of Tourism, 2019, Tourism, ecotourism, and protected areas, 1996

Contact Nature proudly participates in the international collective 1% FOR THE PLANET and donates 1% of its annual sales to the Plein Air Fund 1% for the planet.

Action plan and sustainable development guidelines 

We invite you to consult the 2020-2022 action plan as well as the sustainable development guidelines we adopted. Please note that the documents are in French. 

action plan 2020-2022

Sustainable development guidelines



Positive impacts on the community 

Our actions generate positive calculable effects on the environment. We are proud to present those of 2019. 

Social effects 2019 

  • In 2019, Contact Nature arranged 3 of the Mars river salmon fishing pools and a pond in the camping ‘Jardin de mon père’ to make them available to low mobility citizens. 
  • The free initiation day on the Mars River allowed to train 22 people to responsible Atlantic salmon and sea trout fishing. 
  • For a full year, children of 18 years old and less were allowed free access at the Bec Scie hiking trails, the equipment rental was also free for 12 years old and younger. 
  • The 22500$ collected during the yearly benefit-supper allowed to make outdoors access easier for local low-income citizens. 
  • The Mars River benefit tournament collected 3476$ to be used for the therapeutic adventure test project via a fishing expedition for the (Sur la pointe des pieds?) movement. 
  • The Bec Scie Outdoors Centre offered 3000$ in annual passports to the Hobbies Access program, allowing young and adults in Saguenay to access sports, cultural, artistic or recreative activities. 
  • Through the organization’s leaders and team, Contact Nature is part of 7 administrative committees and councils, is a member of 9 associations et works with 20 organizations in its environment. 


2019 Economic repercussions 

  • More than 30000 estimated clients at the Bec Scie Outdoors Centre. 
  • 13670 clients and 8261 nights spent at the Jardin de mon père camping. 
  • 1067 fishing days, 4512 visitors and a 26% rise in fishing packages on the Mars River. 
  • 770 reserved spots and 7749 daily passes sold on the ice fishing villages. 
  • 4184 sales, a 12% rise at Okwari Adventures. 
  • 1 020 637$ in salaries. 


2019 environmental effects 

  • Following the 2019 Water month, Contact Nature took the vow to cease using polystyrene and plastic straws in all its establishments. 
  • Contact Nature reached the 3rd level in the Saint-Laurent challenge which aims to reduce consumption of plastic products. 
  • Using the Boreal Carbon program, Contact Nature has compensated 6,4 tons of greenhouse gas by financing the plantation of 46 trees and has doubled its compensation to prevent future emissions from used vehicules. 
  • An important hydrogeomorphology analysis started on the Mars river. The analysis will allow to favor and sustain the atlantic salmon and sea trout’s natural habitat in the Saguenay region. 
  • 1844 protection hours have been realized on the river in 2019. 
  • More than 270 square meters of salmon and sea trout spawning pools have been built in the Mars river. 
  • 296 salmons (including 216 large salmons) went through the migratory pass in the river in 2019, a 13% growth compared to 2018. 
  • 83 mature sea trouts and 57 salmons have been transported upriver from the Murailles dam, towards the best spawning pools in the river. 
  • 338 sea trouts traversed the river’s migratory pass. A diminution of 30% is to be noticed in comparison to 2018. 
  • 70 sea trouts and 65 were caught and released.  
Jacob and Sadler’s model
Jacob and Sadler’s model

Concept definitions 

Sustainable development  

The 1987 Brundtland report define sustainable development as: ‘’A development that answers the needs of the present without compromising future generation’s capacity to furfill their own needs. 2 concepts are required by this notion: the concept of ‘needs’ (in particular the essential needs of the most deprived, who it fits to allow the greatest priority) and the idea of limitation that our techniques and social organisation imposes upon the environmental capacity to answer current and future needs.’’ (Brundtland Report, 1987) 

Sustainable development is becoming a great challenge of our society. It is a very large notion and relies on more than the protection of the environment.
‘’Sustainable development relies on a long-term vision taking into account the interwoven relation between environmental, social and economic dimensions of development activities.’’ (Sustainable development law, article 2, 2019)
It must be simultaneously economically efficient, socially equitable and ecologically tolerable. The social aspect must be an objective, the economy a way and the environment a condition.
(Événements 3,0 , 2019) 

By taking into account these 3 great pillars, the sustainable development Law in Québec aims to:
‘’Maintain the environment’s integrity to assure the health and safety of human communities and preserve the ecosystems sustaining life;
assure the social equity to allow for the fulfillment of every woman and man, the blossoming of communities and the respect of diversity;
Aim for economical efficiency to create a prospering and innovative economy, ecologically and socially responsible.’’
(Ministry of the Environment and the climate change fight, 2019) 

Figure 1. Representation of the 3 dimensions and 4 characteristics of sustainable development. Source: A typology of sustainable development, Riffon, O. and Villeneuve, C. (2011) 

Seeing the importance of the indissociable characteristic of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, one of the important goals for an organization (like Contact Nature) wishing to conform to this approach is to be able to establish and evaluate yearly its growth targets and its repercussions on the economic, social and environmental stage. To establish and evaluate these 3 dimensions, the ‘’triple bottom line’’ concept was elaborated by John Elkington in 1994 (The economist, 2009).
The concept is very simple: at the end of the year, a ‘’state of results’’ must be realized on the economic, social and environmental stage.. (The Economist, 2009) 

Tourisme durable

Sustainable tourism is a form of tourism based on the respect of great principles of sustainable development. The Global tourism organization (United Nations institution charged of the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism accessible to all) defines sustainable tourism as such: ‘’tourism that takes fully into account its present and future economic, social and environmental impacts, by answering to the visitors, professionals, environmental and the local community’s needs.’’ (Sustainable Development of Tourism, 2019)
Take note that tourism has become in 2015 one of the most important economic activities in the world, representing 10% of the GDP and 6% of the world’s exports. (World Tourism Organization, 2016) 

Concretely, we are talking here of management and operation techniques that oversee the touristic industry in all its components. These components are very complex and transversal. In order to establish base criteria to better define the destinations or businesses fitting in the sustainable tourism, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) created criterias with multiple partners, some of which United Nations agencies, ONgs, gouvernments and large touristic businesses (Global Sustainable Tourism Council, 2019). Those criterias created by the GSTC are regrouped in 4 categories: 

1: Demonstrate the sustainable aspect of the destination’s management (14 criterias) 

2: Maximise economic advantages for the local community and limit the negative impacts (9 criterias) 

3: Maximise advantages for the communities, visitors and culture; limit to a minimum the negative impacts (6 criterias) 

4: Maximise the beneficial effects on the environment and reduce the negative impacts to a minimum (12 criterias) 

Source: Global Sustainable Tourism Courncil, 2019 

In these large objective groups,  we can quickly identify 3 predominant dimensions: environmental, social and economic. The Global tourism organization goes in the same direction by indicating clearly that sustainable tourism must: 

1: Make an optimal use of environmental resources that are a key element of tourism development by preserving the essential ecological processes and by contributing to the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity. 

2: Respect the sociocultural authenticity of the local communities, conserve their living and built culture as well as their traditional values, and contribute to the tolerance and intercultural understanding. 

3: Guarantee long-term viable economic activities bringing to all involved parties positive equitable socio-economic value, notably possibilities of stable jobs, stable income, social services for the supporting community as well as contributing to fighting poverty. 

Source: Sustainable Development of Tourism, 2019 

In 2006, the United Nations organization for education, science and culture wrote a report called ‘’Tourism, culture and sustainable development’’ (UNESCO, 2006). This report talks about the large dimensions of sustainable development and sustainable tourism by stating its importance and the role these practices can play in ‘’The capacity of the planet’s inhabitants to better live together and to contribute to elevate in men’s spirit the defenses of peace.’’ (UNESCO, 2006) 

Added are also reasonings on how sustainable tourism preserves the cultural and natural heritageto ‘’Make it available to all, better publicize cultures and civilizations, enhance daily living conditions and reduce poverty.’’ (UNESCO, 2006)
By reading the ‘’Tourism, culture and sustainable development’’ report, we can notice the complexity of a real execution of the principles of sustainable tourism, but also all the positive aspects that sustainable tourism can bring to enhance humanity and the planet. 

Here are some prominent elements that can be learnt from the report: 

  • Tourism ‘’rests on the fundamental principles of the exchange between people and is at the same time an expression and a cultural experience.’’ 
  • Tourism ‘’favors direct contact between people of different cultures.’’ 
  • There is a close link existing between cultural environment and natural environment and it is clear that ‘’by protecting both, we contribute to their protection and the renewing of their resources.’’ 
  • ‘’Tourism has the advantage of creating jobs and revenues at a relatively low cost by using cultural and natural resources.’’ 

Source: UNESCO, 2006 

Concerning the application of sustainable tourism, multiple tools exist, including the ‘’Sustainable tourism toolbox in global UNESCO patrimonial sites.’’ (UNESCO, 2019). This toolbox presents a 10 steps approach with a guide for each one to institute a management system for sustainable tourism. The 10 steps are: 

1: Understanding 

2: strategy 

3: Governance 

4: Participation 

5: Communication 

6: Infrastructures 

7: Value 

8: Behavior 

9: Investment 

10: Follow up 

Source: ‘’Sustainable tourism toolbox in global UNESCO patrimonial sites.’’ UNESCO, 2019 

The tool developed by the UNSECO for sustainable tourism in global UNESCO patrimonial sites will be highly useful as a reference document for Contact Nature’s strategic planning, in particular for its action plan. 


A sub-category of sustainable tourism is ecotourism. Ecotourism has been defined as follows by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): 

‘’Respectful trips and visits of the environment in relatively undisturbed natural zones, to profit from and appreciate nature (as well as all past and present cultural elements) that promote conservation, have a reduced impact on visitors and allow an active and beneficial socio-economic implication for local populations.’’ (IUCN-International union for conservation of nature, 1996)
Concerning ecotourism, 9 conditions are required by the IUCN: for an activity to be qualified as ecotourism, it must present all following 9 characteristics: 

1: Promote a positive environmental ethic and encourage a responsible behavior in participants. 

2: Does not degrade the resource used. In other terms, it is not a consumption that degrades the natural environment. (Hunting for sport and fishing can be classified as tourism in wild zones (green) but are classed as adventure tourism, not ecotourism). 

3: It focuses on inherent values instead of extraneous ones. The installations and services can facilitate meeting with the inherent resource but never become full attractions and do not damage the resource. 

4: It is oriented towards the environment and not man. The ecotourists accept the environment as it is, not expecting it to change or be changed for their commodity. 

5: It must benefit the fauna and environment. The question being if the environment (not only the people) received measurable advantages, be it socially, economically, scientifically and politically. At least, the environment must generate a net benefice, contributing to its durability and ecologic integrity. 

6: It offers a direct meeting with the natural environment (and with all the associated cultural elements found in non developed zones). Zoological parks do not constitute an ecotourism experience (even if they can contribute to an individual’s interest for ecotourism). Greeting centers for visitors and interpretation presentations onsite can be considered as part of an ecotourism activity only if they orient people towards a direct experience. 

7: It actively associates local communities to the touristic process so they can profit from it, contributing to a better valorisation of the natural resources in this locality. 

8: The level of gratification for the tourist is measured in terms of education and/or in appreciation instead of terms of excitement or physical achievement. The last one being related more as adventure tourism. 

9: It necessitates a considerable preparation and requires deep knowledge from leaders and participants. The satisfaction taken from the experience is felt and expressed in an emotional and inspiring manner. 

Source: Tourism, ecotourism, and protected Areas, 1996. 

It can be seen through these conditions that ecotourism is an approach that presents tangible practices in the realization of sustainable tourism in natural environments. It is certainly one of the most responsible forms of tourism when it comes to protecting the planet’s natural and cultural heritage. 

Contact Nature has been accredited as an ecotourist enterprise in 2019 by Adventure Ecotourism Québec. Contact Nature already respects the great principles of ecotourism but could push its practices further and become a management example. 


The concept of geotourism has been elaborated by National Geographic which aims to protect the most distinctive places in the world by using a well managed tourism and an enlightened vision of the destinations (National Geographic, 2019). Here are 13 principles of geotourism that National Geographic elaborated for governments and travelers: 

1: Location integrity 

2: Respect of international codes 

3: Community involvement 

4: Community advantages 

5: Tourists satisfaction 

6: Resources conservation 

7: Protection and showcase of the destination 

8: Planning 

9: Use of the resources 

10: Market diversity 

11: Interactive interpretation 

12: Market selectivity 

13: Evaluation 

Source: National Geographic, 2019 

We can notice through these 13 principles of geotourism based on the large principles of sustainable tourism and ecotourism that sub-principles have been identified, not unlike what the Quebec government did for its 16 principles of sustainable development. Geotourism helps precise different actions to introduce new sustainable development practices.