Pointe de Saint-Vallier: a natural and historical heritage
Harvest Festival, pointe de St-Vallier (Photo by NCC)
A partnership for the conservation of Pointe de Saint-Vallier
In 1999, Robert and Gabrielle Amos, wishing to ensure the long-term conservation of the Pointe de Saint-Vallier, facing Île d'Orléans, donated their property to two organizations dedicated to conserving historical and natural heritage: the Canadian Heritage of Quebec and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).
Located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, 60 kilometres east of Quebec City, the Pointe de Saint-Vallier borders a cove for more than a kilometre. NCC owns 42 hectares (103 acres) of tidelands on the property. NCC also holds a conservation agreement on 25 hectares (61 acres) of neighbouring properties. The agricultural parcels, forest and buildings are owned by Canadian Heritage of Quebec. The property includes a heritage manor house dating back to the 18th century. At the same time, the Corporation du Domaine Pointe de Saint-Vallier was created to develop the site. The group organized visitor activities that incorporate natural science, history and the arts.
The Pointe’s remarkable biodiversity
The protected area on the Pointe de Saint-Vallier consists of three zones with distinct ecological characteristics: the shoreline, woodlot and farmlands. A one-kilometre trail connects all three areas.
Pointe de Saint-Vallier is located along one of the most important bird migration corridors in North America. It serves as a haven for many bird species. In fall and spring, the greater snow goose and other bird species touch down on the banks to feed during their long migration.
Victorin’s water-hemlock (photo by Frederic Coursol)
The estate’s coastal areas, for their part, are home to at least 10 plants that, in Quebec, can only be found in the freshwater estuary. Among these are four species that are designated as threatened, two of which are endemic (they do not grow anywhere else in the world) to this part of the St. Lawrence: Victorin's water-hemlock and Victorin's gentian, both named after Brother Marie-Victorin.
At the northwest end of the property, a forest stand of about 11 hectares (27 acres) consists of basswood maple sugar with red oak and beech. It also includes softwood trees, including white pine and eastern white cedar. A few endangered butternut trees also grow here. The woodland has significant diversity and an abundance of herbaceous plants. The diverse forest along the shores helps reduce erosion.
Discover the wealth of this environment
The three organizations involved in managing the site have developed visitor facilities. Together, they have also worked on the creation of an education program focusing on the natural environment, the restoration of heritage elements and the organization of a program of activities that reach a wide audience. The program now consists of around 20 annual activities, including a few major events that span an entire weekend.
Eighteenth-century heritage house, Pointe de Saint-Vallier (Photo by NCC)
Activities include birdwatching sessions and workshops on mushrooms and botany. Other activities include artistic and cultural activities, such as concerts, symposiums, painting and writing workshops, author meetings, etc. The site is now visited by nature, art and history enthusiasts, from both within the region and outside it. The total number of yearly visitors, which is increasing annually, is currently around 1,500.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Domaine Pointe de Saint-Vallier
To celebrate the Domaine's 20th anniversary, NCC will be improving the visitor facilities and developing tools to raise greater awareness about the site’s exceptional natural wealth. Various interpretation tools have been developed. This includes new signs for plant identification and interpretation, an information pamphlet and a video capsule. These feature the natural characteristics of the Domaine’s different ecosystems (woodland, river, field, tideland). In partnership with the Corporation du Domaine Pointe de Saint-Vallier, NCC also helps organize public discovery days. These activities are accompanied by promotional initiatives that are increasing the Domaine’s outreach well beyond its usual public.
The site is managed through the collaboration of the three groups: Canadian Heritage of Quebec, the Corporation du Domaine Pointe de Saint-Vallier and NCC. NCC has also received financial support from the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement, the Caisse Desjardins des Seigneuries de Bellechasse and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.