Not too far away from the Massawippi Trail in Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley is another jewel of a place for bird watchers and for people who enjoy nature. The Ile du Marais site includes an island and marshland and is now a privately owned conservation property.
The wetlands were formed around 1910 when a new dam was built. The marsh and the island have a surface area of nearly 150 hectares. The land trust “Île du Marais Inc”, was founded in 1984 and it is a non-profit organization that protects the island, the trail leading to it and part of the marsh. It is a private property, but like the Massawippi Conservation Trust’s properties, some areas are open to the public. Four kilometres of trails run through the site and give visitors privileged access to the heart of this ecosystem.
Fortunately, despite its private nature, the people who created the trust, as well as all those who have been involved on a volunteer basis ever since, are committed to keeping it open to the public. Their mission is to preserve the natural environment of Lake Magog, particularly its wetlands.
The fauna and flora are abundant on Île du Marais. More than 190 species of birds have been observed there! Many species of plants, amphibians and reptiles are also present here.
The Fondation Massawippi Foundation gave its very first grant ($15,000.) to the Ile du Marais Inc. in 2011 to help them raise the funds necessary to rebuild their boardwalk. When Claude Goulet, President and Marc Hurtubise, board member, met with the author, they laughed as they told the story of this large and unexpected gift. It helped them to kick-off the campaign to raise enough money to rebuild the aging boardwalk.
Imagine the hundreds of thousands of birds that have nested and used the land over the years. We are lucky to have this conservation group protecting their habitat ensuring that the birds will continue to roost and profit from this safe environment. The site is recognized as one of the most exceptional heritage nature sites in the region.
To learn more, please visit their website http://www.iledumarais.org/index.html
To go directly to their list of birds seen on their property listed in French.