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. Not only is it one of the last unfragmented wilderness areas remaining in southern Quebec, it also represents a key link in the Appalachian range that stretches from Georgia to the Gaspé Peninsula. It is a priceless natural treasure, with a multitude of ecosystems home to an abundance of species.
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, funded in part by the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement, along with other partners. In 2004, following a major community outreach campaign, lands formerly owned by Domtar were also acquired through an extraordinary financial contribution by the Government of Quebec and numerous private donors.
Other acquisitions followed, establishing the largest area of private land in Quebec dedicated to conservation. 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 participation of 14 conservation groups that have collectively 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, as well as the development of new access points and offering interpretive material about the natural environment.
In the Green Mountains Nature Reserve, beauty and diversity abound. The reserve provides a refuge for several species of birds of prey such as barred owl and broad-winged hawk, along with 80 species of breeding birds.
The reserve shelters Fullerton Pond (l'étang aux herbages) and 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), which evolves into a mixed forest at higher altitude (fir, spruce and birch).
The protected area is big enough to conserve ecosystem diversity, while maintaining adequate habitat for wide-ranging mammals such as black bear, bobcat and moose. The nature reserve provides essential habitat for several 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.