Pointe de Saint-Vallier: a natural and historical heritage
Harvest Festival, pointe de St-Vallier (Photo by NCC)
A partnership for conservation of the natural and historical heritage of Pointe de Saint-Vallier
In 1999, Robert and Gabrielle Amos, wishing to ensure the long-term preservation of the Pointe de Saint-Vallier, facing Île d'Orléans, donated their property to two organizations dedicated to conserving historical and natural heritage, namely 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 103 acres (42 hectares) of tidelands on the property and holds a conservation agreement on 61 acres (25 hectares) of neighbouring properties. The agricultural parcels, forest and buildings, including a heritage manor house dating back to the 18th century, are owned by Canadian Heritage of Quebec. At the same time, the Corporation du Domaine Pointe de Saint-Vallier was created to develop the site by organizing 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 and serves as a haven for many bird species. In fall and spring, the greater snow goose and other bird species that touch down on the banks to feed during their long migration can be seen.
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 grown anywhere else in the world) to this part of the Saint 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 27 acres (11 hectares) consists of basswood maple sugar with red oak and beech. It also includes softwood trees, including white pine and Eastern white cedar, as well as a few butternut, an endangered tree in Canada. The woodland has significant diversity and an abundance of herbaceous plants. The forest along the shores helps counteract erosion and maintains a rich biodiversity.
Discover the wealth of this environment
The dynamism of the three organizations involved in managing the site has led to the setting-up of visitor facilities, creation of an education program focusing on the natural environment, restoration of heritage elements and 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 patrimonial house, pointe de Saint-Vallier (Photo by NCC)
Activities include birdwatching sessions, workshops on mushrooms and botany, as well as artistic and cultural activities, such as concerts, symposiums, painting and writing workshops, author meetings, etc. The site is now visited by lovers of nature, art and history, 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
NCC wishes to take the opportunity of this 20th anniversary to highlight a new chapter in the Domaine’s story, by improving the visitor facilities and by developing tools to raise greater awareness about the site’s exceptional natural wealth. Various interpretation tools will be developed, including new signs for plant identification and interpretation, an information pamphlet and a video capsule. These will 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 will also help organize discovery days, which will be open to the general public. These activities will be accompanied by promotional initiatives that will increase the Domaine’s outreach well beyond its usual public.
The site is managed through the collaboration of the three groups involved: 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 & Wildlife Service.