A Protected area is a section of a natural environment which receives protection for its natural or cultural significance. The level of protection varies depending on the type of its designation. In Quebec, all protected areas are administered by the government and some are managed by the local community such as Parks. There are over a dozen types of protected areas in Quebec such as biodiversity reserves, wildlife habitats, migratory bird sanctuaries and so on. The majority of protected areas are places where no industrial development (commercial forestry, mining and hydro-electricity) is allowed. Crees can practice their traditional activities in protected areas because Crees rights to hunt, fish and trap supersede or come above all protected areas legislation or laws. The two most common types of protected areas found in Eeyou Istchee are Quebec National Parks and Biodiversity Reserves.
A Québec National Park is established for the purposes of protecting the area from industrial development and for tourism. When a national park is created, the Government invests money into tourism infrastructure and development. Cree harvesting activities are allowed throughout a park. Sport fishing by tourists is allowed, but sport hunting by tourists is forbidden.
Biodiversity reserves are created with the purpose of providing protection against industrial development. They are not established for tourism. Cree harvesting activities are allowed in the reserve. Sport hunting, fishing and outfitting by non-Crees is allowed.