The emerald lake in Gatineau Park

I already talked about the ruins of Carbide Willson in Gatineau Park. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit another beautiful site in the park: Pink Lake. A lake that, despite its name, has the distinction of being emerald green.

Pink Lake is a meromictic lake. A what? A meromictic lake is a lake whose surface waters do not mix with bottom waters, as is usually the case with a lake. This mixing of water usually allows the uniform distribution of oxygen and nutrients in the lake waters. At Pink Lake, this is not the case. The last seven metres of the lake are deprived of oxygen.

Pink Lake in Gatineau Park

That does not mean that the lake is deprived of life. On the contrary, there is in Pink Lake a fish that is usually only found in salt water: the Threespine Stickleback. This fish was left behind by the Champlain Sea that once covered the entire region. But unlike other lakes, Pink Lake experienced a very slow desalination because of its unique properties, which gave the fish time to adapt to freshwater.

But why is the lake green? This is due to a proliferation of microscopic algae. These algae take up oxygen, which causes eutrophication of the lake. Although natural, the phenomenon has accelerated in recent decades, due to the lake’s high popularity and erosion of its banks. Conservation efforts are now being put in place to slow the deterioration of the lake.

Pink Lake in Gatineau Park

A trail of about 2 kilometres goes around the lake, which allows to appreciate it from every angle. Interpretation signs along the trail provide a better understanding of the features of Pink Lake. Stay on the trail, however, to help protect the fragile environment around you.


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