There is now more protected land along Rivière du Nord in Saint-André-d’Argenteuil.

In October, The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) officially announced the protection of the Boisé Carillon, 494 acres/202 hectares of forest and wetlands between the villages of Carillon and St-André-Est. The site is located near the existing Boisé Von Allmen area of trails and protected land. Currently not accessible to the public, the NCC plans to provide public access to the Boisé Carillon property within one year so visitors may enjoy nature and walk in a setting lush with vegetation, unique forest, ponds and wetlands, and home to a variety of wildlife species.

According to the NCC. Conserving Boisé Carillon ensures the long-term conservation of the property and its ecosystems from any threat of development. The NCC will collaborate with the local community, particularly the municipality of Saint-André-d’Argenteuil and the MRC d’Argenteuil to plan public access to the area and restore ecosystems on the property. The NCC will also set up a local consultative committee to manage the forest and study the property’s ecosystems to determine how best to protect them in the coming years.

Two tree species which are at-risk in Québec, the black maple and rock elm, which are both protected under provincial law, cover much of the site.

“It’s a very exceptional forest,” NCC Québec Project Manager for Montréal and the Lower Laurentians Annie Ferland said.

Seventeen other plant species at risk have been confirmed on the site, which also has great potential for wildlife, such as West Virginia white, a butterfly species considered vulnerable on a global scale, recently discovered on the property.

Ferland said there is a connection between butterflies and plants which is necessary for their survival.

Boisé Carillon also includes about 136 acres/55 hectares of wetlands, which is 52 per cent of the property. These ecosystems play an important role in maintaining water quality in the region and preventing floods and offer critical habitat to a range of species.

Currently, an all-terrain vehicle trail passes across the site. Ferland said the NCC is having discussions with the club responsible for the trail to ensure access continues.

Trail, boardwalk, and viewing area access to Boisé Carillon is expected to be available by the summer of 2024. The NCC took possession of the land in 2021 but waited until October 2023 to officially announce the acquisition.

The property formerly belonged to a religious order whose facility has since closed. The site unfortunately became a popular place for people to leave trash. Volunteers have already cleaned up 4,000 kilograms or four tons of trash from the site.

The acquisition of Boisé Carillon and other properties by the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Québec has been made possible by contributions from the Québec government, the MapleCross Fund, Echo Foundation, Age of Union Alliance, TD Bank Group, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Government of Canada, the Fondation de la faune du Québec, through the Programme Hydro-Québec pour la mise en valeur de milieux naturels to restore the site and make it accessible to the public, and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The NCC also appreciates the support of Cogeco, the municipality of Saint-André-d’Argenteuil, and the Potvin family for supporting the project.

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