How do you make sure a threatened wetland is saved for eternity? You buy it. When a For Sale sign went up on an 18-hectare undeveloped lot on Quebec’s Lac à la Truite, Bertrand Larivée, the president of the lake association, worried that it would become another chalet subdivision. After he expressed his concerns to the cottagers and residents, the group decided it would buy the land and protect not only the water quality of the lake, but also rare species in the area such as the eastern wood pewee and the pickerel frog.
But saving a parcel from development takes time and patience. Concerned citizens alone can’t create a conservation area. So Larivée called Appalachian Corridor, a Quebec non-profit that promotes and facilitates the conversion of private land to conservation land. “We decided to map it,” says Mélanie Lelièvre, the organization’s executive director. Two biologists spent two days surveying plants, birds, and animals on the lot. Appalachian Corridor then worked with the property owner, notaries, and the federal government to have it registered as conservation land, and bought the land on behalf of the cottagers, using, in part, the money they had raised. (Once the association registers as a charitable organization, the Appalachian Corridor will transfer the ownership.) The whole process took almost two years of negotiations, but in the end, it’s a win-win. “Everyone on the lake feels proud of saving this land,” says Larivée.
This story was originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of Cottage Life.