Piedmont, Prévost and Saint-Hippolyte - Integrating conservation and public accessibility at the Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve
Peregrine falcon (Photo by Jean-François Plouffe)
Located just 60 kilometres from Montreal, the Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve is nestled in the Piedmont and Prévost Escarpments of the Laurentians. This 500-hectare nature reserve in the heart of one of the region’s iconic natural areas combines conservation and public access.
The nature reserve was named in honour of a generous donor, who was both a bird and nature enthusiast. The reserve was established by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), with the help of local, regional and government partners. The escarpments in the reserve provide refuge for more than 80 per cent of all birds of prey species recorded in Quebec. Several vulnerable species, such as peregrine falcon, are found here.
From the establishment of the nature reserve, NCC and its partners have develiped outdoor structures that promote the discovery of nature while minimizing the impact of recreational activities on it.
These rocky landscapes are home to a variety of plants and animals. The property provides habitat for rare species, such as purple clematis and Holboell's rockcress. Vulnerable species, such as smooth greensnake and pickerel frog, also live here. The property is open to the public for recreational and outdoor education activities.
Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve, Laurentians (Photo by Mark Tomalty)
The site is open year-round for hiking on 16 kilometres of trails. In the winter it is open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Ice climbing is allowed until the end of February, when peregrine falcons begin selecting their nesting sites.
Public access conditions, including the required membership in the Fédération québécoise de la montagne et de l’escalade, have been put in place to prevent any disturbance of current and future nesting sites. However, rock climbing (which has a more direct impact on peregrine falcons during the nesting season), dogs and bicycles are prohibited.
The trails are accessible from train station in Prévost, with the new pedestrian access that goes along the linear park of the P'tit Train du Nord. Three new access points are also available: at the end of Chemin du Roitelet, from Place des Hauteurs or from Chemin de la Rivière.
(Click on the image to enlarge the map)
We would like to express our gratitude to all those who generously contributed to the protection of this site :
NCC would like to acknowledge the contribution of the late Mr. Allan Aitken, who facilitated the acquisition of the portion of the reserve's territory through the charitable organixation E.R.S. Youth development.