David Rittenhouse was one of the founding members and first trustees of the Massawippi Foundation and Conservation Trust. Remembered fondly by his friends and fellow founders, David is credited as being the person who sounded the alarm bell after noticing a potential serious environmental threat from development on the western slope of Lake Massawippi. A group of 20 concerned citizens gathered together to discuss the issue following which David took it upon himself to pick up the ball to research potential solutions. His efforts resulted in the formation of the Foundation and Trust in 2011. Sadly, David passed away on August 16, 2011 before seeing a single property protected. Today the Foundation and Trust protect 1200 acres of pristine forest in the Massawippi valley and have built over 12 kilometers of public trails.

DAVID RITTENHOUSE (1943-2011) Founding Director of the Dobson-Lagassé Entrepreneurship Centre at Bishop’s University, in Lennoxville, Quebec. Professor, Founding Chairman, Department of Drama, Bishop’s University, from 1966 to 1981. A creative force in the Massawippi Foundation and Conservation Trust which embraces both the community and conservation of land in the Massawippi Valley, Quebec.

Mahicans Diamond helped us to identify this specimen seen just beside the trail.
The common name is Hemlock Varnish Shelf (Latin name: GANODERMA, tsugae)It is a very close look-alike to the Lucid Bracket  (common name) (Latin name: GANODERMA, resinaceum). They are distinguished by the dead trunks they grow on (one on deciduous trees, the other on Hemlock) as well as by the length of their foot/stem. Hemlock Varnish Shelf has a longer stem, Lucid Bracket has practically no stem.

I believe that the Lucid Bracket is commonly known as Reishi and known for it’s medicinal properties (antitumor, immune-enhancing, cholesterol reducing, longevity, etc.). It is consumed as a tea as it is very tough.

I think the Varnish Shelf is commonly mistaken as Reishi, and we have a lot of it in Eastern Townships Hemlock forests.

Enjoy our trails and nature with your eyes, the memories you will take home with you will be in your camera.  We remind you that you must stay on the trails and that you may not pick mushrooms, flowers or any other plants on Conservation Trust property.  This is a protected area and we count on you to respect it. 

Enjoy our trails and nature with your eyes, the memories you will take home with you will be in your camera.  We remind you that you must stay on the trails and that you may not pick mushrooms, flowers or any other plants on Conservation Trust property.  This is a protected area and we count on you to respect it. 

Warning/Danger :
Never consume a mushroom unless you are certain of its identity and edibility and are aware of any potential reactions it may cause.

What is tagging?
In order to help identify the borders of the land under the stewardship of the Massawippi Conservation Trust, yellow tags are nailed (one inch deep only) into the trees. Each tag is placed just above eye level, visible from one tree to another along the property line.
They indicate to passersby that this is conserved land, an ecoregion which contains pristine forests and is part of the watershed for Lake Massawippi. Numerous species of wildlife depend on the cover of the forest.

Forests provide other indirect benefits. They play a key role in maintaining water quality and containing carbon dioxide, a real issue in times of climate change.

In October two volunteers from the Massawippi Board joined David Brisson, biologist  from the Appalachian Corridor association to tag two new properties.

The A.G.M. was successfully held via videoconference on June 27th


Supporting Documents from the meeting:

Agenda AGM June 27th 2 p.m.


BY-Law No. 2 (PDF)

Directors 2020

Trail Building Protocol


Ethan’s Beach is now open!

Come take a hike down to the lake for a swim. Have a picnic. Enjoy the beautiful forests of the Massawippi Valley.

Here are a few things to keep in mind. As the beach is at the bottom of a hill, the trail slopes downwards and is rated “black diamond”. In other words a tougher hike, especially going back up. The trail is approximately 3,5 kms one way with a mixture of easy, intermediate and difficult sections.

  • There are benches along the way so that you can rest.
  • Remember to save some water for the return trip.
  • Bug spray and a walking stick also can come in very handy.
  • Besides the usual steps along the way there is a staircase with 85 steps just before you reach the beach. Once you have arrived here, you will see the lake.
  • The beach has 3 picnic tables. Please remember to keep you social distance and stay in your family bubble.
  • The lake has a small shallow entrance and then there is a quick drop off. Swim at your own risk.There is no lifeguard on duty.
  • It will take about 1 ½ hours to get back up the hill depending on your level of fitness.
  • Parking is at the end of Côte du Piémont (just off ch. Gingras) in Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley.  Google Maps
  • NEW A compost toilet has been added at the top of the stairs for your convenience.

The Massawippi Conservation Trust asks:

  • Stay within the sandy beach area;
  • Light no campfires;
  • No camping;
  • Behave appropriately;
  • Follow the internationally recognized code of ethics of “Leave no Trace” to respect our natural environment.

The Trust discourages the beaching of motorboats in this ecologically important area. You can pull up your canoe, kayak or paddle board .


The Annual General and Special Meeting of the members of the Fondation Massawippi Foundation will be held via ZOOM video conference on Saturday, June 27th, 2020 at 2:00 pm.
The meeting will be a shortened version of the planned in-person event.  It will include the business parcel and the corporate items which we need to address to meet and to maintain our legal requirements for the Massawippi Foundation and Trust.
1. To receive the Corporation’s financial statements and the reports of the directors for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019;
2. To confirm by way of Special Resolution the adoption of By-Law No. 2 of the Fondation Massawippi Foundation. The full text of the Special Resolution and of By-Law No. 2 containing all the new amendments (as passed by the Board of Directors) is included with this Notice and is available for review by the members on the website of the Foundation at www.massawippi.org.
3. To elect directors for 2020.
4. To transact such other business of the Corporation as may properly come before the Meeting.
To attend the meeting please register in advance.
To register in advance for this meeting click on :
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
For those of you not familiar with ZOOM, you may want to test your computer or phone and download the app if needed ahead of time here:
Questions and voting
There will be times in the meeting where attendees will be asked if there are any questions and to vote.  We will use Zoom features:
  • Chat feature to accept questions/comments,
  • Raised hand to approve and second motions, and
These features can be found at the bottom of the Zoom screen.  You may need to hover over this area for it to display.
Note: Unfortunately we are unable to provide technical support during the meeting.  Please ensure you are familiar with Zoom prior to the meeting.
For questions prior to the meeting please contact our Community Engagement Manager, Hélène Hamel at hphamel322@hotmail.com

Supporting Documents for the meeting:

Agenda AGM June 27th 2 p.m.


BY-Law No. 2 (PDF)

Directors 2020

Trail Building Protocol


Dear Supporters and Friends,

None of us knows the timeline or the effect that self-isolation, social distancing, economic stress, government regulations or business closures will have on our lives or on the work of the Massawippi Foundation and Massawippi Conservation Trust.

Our Board of Directors recently set up a Plan B for our activities over the coming months that we would like to share with you.

• Our AGM is planned to take place as usual at Vachon Hall on June 27th, 2020 but if that is not possible, it will be held remotely using Zoom. The Notice and Agenda for the meeting will go out to you electronically and you will be given instructions at that time on how to attend the meeting remotely.

• The June 29th Press Conference to announce the completion of the Eberts acquisition has been postponed until a later date.

• The Trust has two conservation projects in the works that will be completed as planned. One project consists of 7 acres with lakefront in the heart of the mountain that connects two previously conserved properties on the west side of the lake. The second 4 acre property is located above and contiguous to our conserved property on Checkerberry. Committed funds are in place and the two properties should be under conservation before the end of the calendar year.

• We had hoped to introduce an educational programme on our conserved lands this summer but this has been deferred until 2021.

• The opening of Ethan’s Beach is scheduled for August 1st, 2020. The Board will decide a month in advance whether to hold this celebration then or to postpone for another time. We will advise you once a decision has been made.

• We are very sensitive to the fact that the economic impact of Covid 19 may reduce your capacity to make a donation this year, and we are controlling our expenditures accordingly. We need your support though, both financial and moral, and hope we can count on you for both.

• We will continue trail building this season on a reduced scale, with a shorter season and fewer employees, fulfilling what we think is an obligation to the outstanding trail builders who have worked for us for the last five years. Since trail building is a non-essential activity, work may not be permitted.

• At our February Board Meeting, the Board agreed to hire a part-time employee to serve as a Community Engagement Manager. We still plan to do so, with the job’s priority to inform and build our constituency electronically and use on-line approaches for fundraising. The job description is attached in case you know of someone who would be a good fit with our organization and whom you might encourage to apply.

In short, we want you to know that we are open for business and continuing our work in every way possible during these quite exceptional times. We hope that you all stay healthy and safe until we can meet again in person.

Yours truly,
Patterson Webster, Chair
Margot Heyerhoff, President

(photos by Heather Ross and  Whitty Ransome)
Original article: http://fanhca.org/2019/06/17/bonnes-nouvelles-a-north-hatley-celebration-in-north-hatley/

Great news from the Massawippi Foundation and The Massawippi Conservation Trust!

More than fifty children from the North Hatley Elementary School planted 100 trees and shrubs at Scowen Park on June 5, creating a beautiful arborway to the celebrated trail on Capelton Road.

It was a toast to the past and to the future as donors gave trees to honour loved ones who have died and young people committed themselves to nurturing the trees and trails over the course of their lives.

The students walked from their school to Scowen Park on Capelton Road and back, inspiring us all to exercise regularly.  The attached photos tell the story: an enthusiastic young person, great teamwork, shovels galore, two Mayors and Margot, Sam and Jane showing younger people how it’s done, Anne Mitchell, Margot and our trail builder and designer, Mahicans Diamond, and some leaders from North Hatley and the Canton on a gloriously beautiful day!

Join us at the Annual Meeting of the Massawippi Foundation on June 29 and walk the trails this summer. Please visit us at https://massawippi.org

Margot Heyerhoff, Jonathan Fortier, Jane Meagher, Normand Briere, Pat Webster, Norman Jones, Sam Elkas, Patrick Houston, Paul Caron, Tom Wilcox

P.S. Trees and shrubs can still be given at $250 and $100 respectively.  Proceeds will seed an endowment to maintain The Massawippi Conversation Trust’s properties in perpetuity.  More than $750,000 has been committed toward our 2019 goal of $1,300,000 to expand to 1200 acres, extend the trail system to 10 kilometers, establish a permanent endowment and make grants to worthy nonprofits across the Massawippi Valley.


As we start our new season, we are happy to present the new website design that now combines our two organizations into one, easy to browse platform.  We hope you enjoy it.