200 hectares of forest and trails protected on the southern flank of the Sutton Mountains
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and Au Diable Vert are expanding one of Quebec’s largest protected areas on private land by nearly 200 hectares, with the addition of three newly acquired properties. These properties will consolidate a vast ecological corridor that stretches across the border to the heart of Vermont.
These acquisitions are of prime environmental importance, given their size and location, and the biodiversity they foster. The properties are located in a key ecological corridor. Wide-ranging animals, such as black bear, bobcat and moose, depend on these vast protected areas for food and reproduction, and to move around.
Climate change is forcing many species to slowly migrate north, which is made difficult for land animals and plants when forests are not connected. The vast ecological corridor in question extends from Mount Mansfield in the south, in the state of Vermont, to Mount Orford in the north, in Quebec. The corridor is not only vital to nature; it is also important to local communities by purifying water and attracting large numbers of tourists keen to connect with nature.
The region’s natural attractions and stunning landscapes draw visitors from near and far, boosting the local economy. It is essential for NCC and its partners to conserve nature while making it accessible. Au Diable Vert and Les Sentiers de l’Estrie invite hikers of all levels to explore the forest in this magnificent part of the province. To facilitate this, Les Sentiers de l’Estrie is upgrading certain trails that weave through the new properties, while Au Diable Vert will create new trails for hiking enthusiasts to enjoy. For trail maps and activities, visit their websites:
This project showcases how NCC is accelerating the pace of conservation in Canada. In the past two years alone, NCC has influenced the protection of more than one million hectares (almost twice the size of Prince Edward Island), coast to coast to coast. Over the next few years, the organization will double its impact by mobilizing Canadians and delivering permanent, large-scale conservation.
In the face of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our ally. There is no solution to either without nature conservation. When nature thrives, we all thrive.
This conservation success was made possible thanks to several financial partners:
- The Government of Quebec, through a grant of more than $53 million over four years allocated to NCC for its Partenariat pour les milieux naturels project.
- The Government of Canada, through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund.
- Private donors, including the Anderson family, Ewa Dorynek Scheer and Bill Triolet, who have chosen to protect their land by partnering with NCC, as well as the Sweet Water Trust.
- A portion of this project was donated to NCC under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.
- Appalachian Corridor also provided valuable support, assisting with the environmental assessment of the properties.
“Conservation is a team effort: it takes partnerships with local groups, municipalities, governments, property owners and companies to succeed. NCC is delighted to team up with Au Diable Vert and Les Sentiers de l’Estrie for this project. Both organizations share our desire to showcase our beautiful natural environment while protecting the region’s ecosystems.” – Cynthia Patry, Project Manager, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“Au Diable Vert has been happy to work with NCC over the past several years. Our projects have allowed us to collaborate with the overlapping goals of conservation, as well as interpretation and access. By working together, we were able to acquire and protect large sections of wilderness that would have been much more challenging without this collaboration.” – Jeremy Fontana, Co-owner, Au Diable Vert
“From its founding, Les Sentiers de l’Estrie has been dedicated to preserving our trails. This long-term collaboration will make it possible to restore the connectivity of a large part of our network. Such conservation efforts help us to protect and enhance our environment and carry out our mission.” – Julie Denis, new Executive Director, Les Sentiers de l’Estrie
“Ecological corridors are essential to conserving our biodiversity. I am proud that our government can contribute to this important acquisition. We must continue to protect our territory for the benefit of our wildlife and citizens. I would like to salute all those involved in this project of great value for the environment and for biodiversity conservation.”
– Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Laurentides Region
“The acquisition of this land is very positive for the citizens of Sutton and the surrounding area. Several hectares were already protected in this area, with many trails developed. New trails will be added on the newly acquired land and many others will be upgraded. Moreover, knowing all the well-being that we get from practising physical activities in nature, this is excellent news!” – Isabelle Charest, Minister Responsible for Sports, Recreation and the Outdoors and Member for Brome-Missisquoi
“Only by engaging in a whole-of-society approach, can we hope to tackle the crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss. By working with partners such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Sentiers de l’Estrie, Au Diable Vert and the generous landowner, Mr. William O. Triolet, we are helping to protect the natural environment and connect Canadians with nature in Quebec and across the country. Through programs like the Natural Heritage Conservation Program and the Ecological Gifts Program, the Government of Canada is making progress toward its goal of conserving a quarter of lands and waters in Canada by 2025, working towards 30 percent of each by 2030.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Congratulations to Au Diable Vert, Les Sentiers de l’Estrie, and Nature Conservancy Canada on their continued conservation efforts in Sutton, QC. Thank you, Mr. William O. Triolet, for your generous land donation that will help preserve our natural heritage for generations to come in the Appalachian corridor.”
– Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Member of Parliament for Brome – Missisquoi, Quebec
- The eastern wood pewee, a small bird designated a species of special concern in Canada according to the Species at Risk Act (SARA), and the spring salamander, assessed as vulnerable in Quebec according to the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species and threatened according to SARA, have been observed on at least one of these properties.
- These forested properties nearly double the size of the protected area on the southern flank of the Sutton Mountains, from 250 hectares to nearly 450, with NCC and Au Diable Vert acquiring 97 and 90 hectares, respectively.
- The properties will be added to the Green Mountains Nature Reserve, considered one of the few regions in southern Quebec where large tracts of undeveloped land remain relatively intact.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner NCC works with people, communities, businesses and government to protect and care for our country’s most important natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares. In Quebec, close to 50,000 hectares have been protected. With nature, we build a thriving world. To learn more, visit natureconservancy.ca.
Au Diable Vert is an award winning, four-season, 230-hectare mountain resort in Sutton, Quebec. Perched on an alpine pasture between the summits of Mont Sutton, Jay Peak and Owl's Head, it offers a full range of eco-accommodation and people-powered seasonal activities, as well as a large network of hiking trails.
Les Sentiers de l’Estrie inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting hiking by providing forest trails. Crossing a large part of the Eastern Townships, from south of Sutton to Richmond, including the Stoke mountains to the east, its trail network of over 200 kilometres offers extraordinary hiking possibilities. All of this is possible due to the precious collaboration of land owners giving access to their properties and the support from its members, partners and many volunteers.
The Government of Quebec through the Projet de partenariat pour les milieux naturels (PPMN). The PPMN is a four-year grant of more than $53 million from the Government of Quebec to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. It provides support for voluntary conservation initiatives to ensure the protection of natural areas of interest by establishing financial partnerships with conservation organizations in the province. The PPMN thus aims to develop and consolidate Québec's network of protected areas located on private land.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.
Sweet Water Trust was a charitable foundation devoted to the protection of wilderness. Over the last three decades, it made more than 650 grants in support of forever-wild land protection, working with nearly 90 partners to conserve more than 310,000 acres of wildlands across the Northern Appalachians. In 2022, Sweet Water Trust became the Sweet Water Fund, an endowment fund supporting Northeast Wilderness Trust’s work to conserve forever-wild landscapes.
Appalachian Corridor is a non-profit conservation organization celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2022. Its mission is to protect the natural environments of the Appalachian region of southern Quebec. Through the implementation of its conservation strategy, Appalachian Corridor provides local communities with the means to maintain and restore a living environment that respects the ecology of the region, from a sustainable development perspective. A total of 17 local organizations are affiliated members of Appalachian Corridor and together they contribute to accelerating and increasing the conservation projects carried out on the territory. Since the beginning of its activities, the extent of the areas protected by Appalachian Corridor and its partners totals more than 16,200 hectares of land protected forever — equivalent to more than the surface area of the city of Granby.
The Quebec Ecological Corridors Initiative (QECI) was launched by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in 2017 to accelerate the conservation of natural areas connected by ecological corridors. The initiative is coordinated by NCC and led by a group of 10 organizations. The group offers a collective approach to land use planning and advises provincial and municipal governments, woodlot owners, farmers and other key stakeholders. The group also carries out mobilization, capacity building, recognition and support activities throughout southern Quebec.
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