Jean-Paul-Riopelle Nature Reserve (Photo by Claude Duchaîne)

Jean-Paul-Riopelle Nature Reserve (Photo by Claude Duchaîne)

A conservation site on Isle-aux-Grues will be accessible to the world through Google Maps

September 12, 2017


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is again teaming up with Google to map a beautiful nature site in Quebec.

When the project is done, people will be able to go on a virtual tour of the Jean-Paul-Riopelle Nature Reserve, located on Isle-aux-Grues, about 80 kilometres east of Quebec City.

NCC’s Quebec staff will be using a 29-kilogram backpack-mounted camera with 15 lenses and that shoots pictures every 2.5 seconds, capturing a 360-degree view of the landscape.  

NCC is using the technology to map 14 of its natural areas across Canada by bringing it to every province.

The Jean-Paul-Riopelle Nature Reserve trails criss-cross a forest of 300-year-old sugar maples, butternut, a tree species designated as endangered in Canada, and species that are found only in a few rare riparian forests on islands in the St. Lawrence River. Artist Jean-Paul Riopelle drew heavily on this landscape for inspiration in his portrayal of geese, owls, ferns and explosions of colour.

Every image taken by the Google Trekker is assigned a GPS location. Google will knit together the photographs to create panoramic views of the trails. The photos will later be published on Google Maps so users may see some of the most stunning, diverse landscapes, from coast to coast.

“The Jean-Paul-Riopelle Reserve is a special place, and it’s amazing that even if people can’t make it out there physically, they’ll be able to view it from anywhere in the world,” said Gabrielle Cauchon-Déry, Nature Conservancy of Canada project coordinator.


  • This 120-acre (48-hectare) property is a 300-year-old sugar maple stand designated as an exceptional forest ecosystem under the “forest sanctuary” category.
  • The ecosystem also presents particularly interesting bird life. The broad flats of the point are designated as a waterfowl gathering area by the government of Quebec.
  • Other NCC visits this year with Google Trekker include Hicks in Alberta, Dutch Creek Hoodoos in British Columbia and Prairie Smoke Alvar in Ontario.
  • The partnership established by NCC and Google has already led to photo-documentation of two conservation sites in Quebec: the Green Mountains Nature Reserve and Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve and can be viewed online at
  • Copyright on all assets collected belong to Google. Trekker is used to capture images in places that can’t be reached by the usual Google Street View vehicles.


“The Isle-aux-Grues archipelago is very pleased to know that our trails will be available on Google Maps, allowing people to enjoy this enchanting site,” said Lisette Vézina Painchaud, mayor of Saint-Antoine-de-l'Isle-aux-Grues.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares, coast to coast. In Quebec, NCC has conserved over 98,800 acres (40,000 hectares) of ecologically significant land through land donations, purchases and conservation agreements.

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Media Contact:

Elizabeth Sbaglia
Communications Manager, Quebec Region
Nature Conservancy of Canada
514-876-1606 x6240

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