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Access to Outdoors: Adventure all around!

By gabrielleif

It’s a well-known fact that Abitibi-Témiscamingue is considered nature’s playground. You name it, we have it: kilometres of forest, 22,000 lakes and rivers, two national parks, and unique geological structures. But apart from a group of hardcore enthusiasts who consider “adventure” their middle name (I’m talking to you, Guillaume Rivest!), it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to exploring new terrain, with the main concerns being safety and difficulty level. That’s why, in this post, I won’t be talking about the attractions themselves, but a powerful tool designed to point you to the perfect outdoor destination. Some might call it the holy grail for hikers, the must-have for cyclists, or the raison d’être for sailors, but we just call it Access to Outdoors.

Access to Outdoors, the app

Like most game-changing businesses in 2022, Access to Outdoors is an app you can download to your phone or a website you can visit online. Designed by our colleague France Lemire, a diehard fan of the outdoors and a devotee of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, Access to Outdoors contains all the information you’ll need for self-guided adventures in each of the region’s five territories. You can search by activity, territory, difficulty level or trip length. The app lists 12 different activities—summer and winter—but since it’s summer now, we’ll focus mainly on the warm-weather sports, so canoeing, kayaking, hiking, cycle touring, mountain biking and zip-lining.

Photo : Christian Leduc

All you need to plan your route

Once you’ve picked your destination (for whichever sport), an information sheet and a detailed map will pop up with all the info you need to plan your route based on your goals and the services and amenities you want. For example, let’s say you’re a canoer and you decide next weekend is the perfect time to hit the water and get some fresh air on the Rivière Duparquet canoe route. On Access to Outdoors, each section is marked with its difficulty level, access point, points of interest, potential risks, duration, and elevation profile. The map features pictograms indicating camp sites, boat ramps, beaches, etc.

Photo : France Lemire

Not only is France a nature lover, she’s also an excellent teacher and guide, which is why each information sheet also contains a wealth of information to keep you safe and sound, including what supplies to bring, what to eat, what to do in an emergency, how to minimize potential risks, how to pack for a camping trip, etc.— basically, everything you’ll need to have a great time and make sure you don’t lose a limb!

Explore lesser-known destinations

The great thing about Access to Outdoors is that it really lets you explore lesser-known destinations. For example, Témiscamingue has more than a dozen marked trails that have been mapped in detail by Access to Outdoors. Gabrielle, a local colleague with a bizarre obsession for the eastern part of Témiscamingue, would recommend Pointe-aux-Roches, in Latulipe, for its 10 kilometers of easy-to-challenging trails, breathtaking beach, and wilderness camp site. “Cap that off with a poutine and some onion rings in Moffet, and you’re all set,” she adds.

Photo : France Lemire

Plenty for cyclists to enjoy

There’s also plenty for cyclists to enjoy. For those adrenaline junkies, Lac Dudemaine, in Amos, features more than 16 km of mountain bike trails (for all levels) that will take riders past the esker and through a forest of birch, spruce and jack pine. The more cautious can don their cute helmet and head for one of the Vallée-de-l’Or cycle touring destinations in Malartic, Val-d’Or or Senneterre, where they can pedal their old banana seater to their heart’s content, while daydreaming about being reunited with their cat.

Photo : Christian Leduc

Everything on the Access to Outdoors app—especially the activities—has been tested and approved by outdoor experts, but you can always email [email protected] if you notice anything during your trip that we overlooked or got wrong. We’re always looking for ways to update and improve the site.

At Access to Outdoors, we like to say we’ve got adventure under control (thanks to Gabrielle, onion ring girl, for that slogan!). Now, it’s up to you to take the first step.