Pink Lake (or Green?) in the Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada

Pink Lake Gatineau, Canada

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Do not be mislead by the name of this lake – though there are lakes around the world that really are pink in color, this one is actually a deep green. It takes its name not from its hue but from the Pink family, who settled the land here in 1826. Located within Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada this lake is a beautiful location – a wonderful place to relax. But beware – the beautiful green color of the lake does have a darker side. Read on to learn more about this intriguing place.

What Makes Pink Lake Unusual?

Pink lake is unusual in that it is meromictic. This means that the upper and lower layers of water contained within in never mix. Normally, a lake’s water layers will mix completely each year during the shoulder seasons due to variations on water density, water and air temperature and winds. Pink lakes waters do not mix, due to its shape and small surface, and surrounding cliffs that protect it from the wind, and this means that oxygen and nutrients are not distributed evenly. The deepest 7 m of the lake have no oxygen at all.

In the oxygen free depths of the lake, only one organism can be found: a prehistoric anaerobic bacterium which uses sulphur instead of oxygen to transform sunlight into energy. This fascinating organism shows that life finds a way even in the most extreme and unpromising seeming of environments.

The upper waters of the lake are home for three-spined stickleback fish. The interesting thing about these is that they are saltwater fish, left behind from the Champlain Sea that used to cover this part of Canada. As the lake turned slowly from a saltwater to a freshwater lake over 3,000 years (a much longer time period than is usual for a lake of this size), the fish adapted and now lives happily in the lake’s fresh water.

Pink Lake on the map and its reviews:

Of course, the most obvious thing that stands out to visitors about Pink Lake is the fact that, between August and September, the waters are very deep green.

Why is Pink Lake Green?

The green colour of the lake, while beautiful, is unfortunately due to the overgrowth of a form of microscopic algae. The algae takes oxygen from the lake, suffocating it. This process is called ‘eutrophication’ and can take many thousands of years to take place.

Unfortunately, human activity sped up erosion and run-off, feeding the microscopic algae and causing a population explosion that meant that the lake could have died in only a few decades. To preserve the lake for future generations, platforms and trails have been built, and trees planted. You can do your part to help Pink Lake by staying on the trail and leaving nature alone, taking nothing but pictures and leaving no trace of your visit.

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