The Green Mountains Natural Area
Green Mountains, Quebec (Photo by Claude Duchaîne)
The Green Mountains Natural Area, which includes the Sutton Mountain Range, is internationally important. Thea area is one of the last unfragmented wilderness areas in southern Quebec. It is also a key link in the Appalachian range, which stretches from Georgia to the Gaspé Peninsula. With its variety of ecosystems and species, this area is a priceless natural treasure.
In 2001, with assistance from Appalachian Corridor, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) made an initial purchase of 1,140 acres (460 hectares) in the Sutton Mountain Range. The purchase was funded in part by the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement, along with other partners. In 2004, after a major community outreach campaign, lands formerly owned by Domtar were also acquired with generous contributions from the Government of Quebec and many private donors.
Other purchases followed, creating the largest area of private land conservation area in Quebec. The Green Mountains Nature Reserve now stretches over 16,060 acres (6,500 hectares). The conservation work extends beyond the nature reserve, thanks to the work of 14 conservation groups. Together, these groups have protected more than 24,710 acres (10,000 hectares) in the Appalachian corridor. NCC aims to improve public access to these lands through the creation of a network of hiking trails, new access points and information brochures.
In the Green Mountains Nature Reserve, beauty and diversity abound. The reserve is a refuge for several species of birds of prey, such as barred owl and broad-winged hawk, and 80 species of breeding birds.
Within the reserve is found Fullerton Pond (l'étang aux herbages). It also features many brooks and streams, including the Singer and Ruiter brooks, which offer prime habitat for stream salamanders. Four major mountain peaks tower over a forest of deciduous trees (birch, beech, ash and maple). Higher up, the forest evolves into a mixed forest (fir, spruce and birch).
The protected area is big enough to conserve ecosystem diversity, with habitat for wide-ranging mammals such as black bear, bobcat and moose. The nature reserve also shelters many wildlife species of interest, including Bicknell’s thrush, pickerel frog and brook trout. It is also home to almost 20 plant species at risk, such as broadleaf toothwort, large-flowered bellwort and maidenhair fern.