Enjoy four winter activities at the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Nature Destinations
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) encourages everyone to go out and explore Quebec's natural areas this winter.
As Canada's largest private land conservation organization, NCC protects forests, rivers, prairies and lakes across the country. NCC’s Nature Destinations program offers a network of exceptional natural areas that are accessible to the public. These places are ideal to unwind in nature, engage in outdoor activities or immerse yourself in a winter wonderland.
While it can be tempting to snuggle indoors to escape the cold, doing activities in nature can benefit us in countless ways. In a recent study, researchers at the University of Exeter in England concluded that spending at least two hours a week in nature helps maintain health and well-being. Interestingly, these impacts were observed regardless of social class, age or gender.
The Nature Destinations are being managed so they can be visited without disturbing species and their natural habitats. “We’re delighted to provide the public with access to natural spaces to allow everyone, regardless of their physical condition, to connect with nature,” said Julien Poisson, program director for southern Quebec at NCC.
In Quebec, five Nature Destinations, from Montérégie to Gaspésie, are particularly suitable for winter activities. Many of them are located close to urban centres, providing city dwellers with easy access to mountains, forests and freshwater bodies. So grab your hiking boots, skis, snowshoes or binoculars and get outdoors with these winter activity suggestions:
1. Hiking in the Green Mountains Nature Reserve, 100 kilometres from Sherbrooke
- Trails: 100-plus-kilometre trail system
- Sights: the great majestic forests of the Appalachian Mountains
2. Snowshoeing in the Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve, 60 kilometres from Montreal
- Trails: 15-kilometre trail system
- Sights: breathtaking views of either the large beaver pond in Piedmont, Lac Paradis beneath the escarpments or the surroundings from the viewpoint at the top of the cliffs
3. Cross-country skiing in the Tourbière-de-Venise-Ouest Nature Reserve, 80 kilometres from Montreal
- Trails: 3-kilometre trail — perfect for beginners or a short ski outing
- Sights: magical wetland views
4. Wildlife sighting at pointe Saint-Pierre, halfway between Gaspé and Percé
- Trails: 3.5-kilometre trail system
- Sights: grey seal, snowy owl, Barrow's goldeneye, long-tailed duck
Wildlife sighting at the Jean-Paul-Riopelle Nature Reserve, 20 minutes from Montmagny (near Québec City)
- Trails: 4.5-kilometre trail system
- Sights: landscape of the archipelago of Isle-aux-Grues, snowy owl, great horned owl, white-tailed deer, woodpecker
NCC has several goals with its Nature Destinations program. It hopes to get people outside so they can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of being active in nature. The organization also hopes that people will gain an appreciation for the ecological benefits that nature offers, such as clean air and water.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to acknowledge Kruger Products for its support of the Nature Destinations program. NCC also recognizes the Government of Canada for its contributions to help conserve many of these sites via funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
We wish to thank the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC), which, through its private stewardship assistance programs, has made it possible to secure most of the properties constituting the Green Mountains, the Tourbière-de-Venise-Ouest, Alfred-Kelly and Jean-Paul-Riopelle nature reserves. This financial support from MELCC for private stewardship is ongoing through the Ensemble pour la nature project. This project promotes solidarity with respect to protected areas by involving Quebec communities in conservation actions.
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 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast, including over 47,670 hectares (117,795 acres) in Quebec.
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