The Gault Nature Reserve Community Access project seeks to increase sustainable access to the Gault Nature Reserve (GNR) in a variety of ways. Most significantly, this project plans increase access by developing a new trail which meets sustainable standards at the foothill of the mountain that connects the the GNR, allowing visitors to more easily reach the network of trails. This project will also allow the GNR to become part of the electric network of charging stations and give the opportunity to electric cars to visit the main entrance.
Read the full project description
The western flank of GNR is a fragile and steep area of the mountain. It is located within 1 km of a major highway and surrounded by a large urban area of Mont-Saint-Hilaire and receives over 63,000 visitors annually. Over the years, to avoid traffic jams at the main entrance and to reach the mountain’s summit more rapidly, visitors have created a disorderly and unauthorized trail network, creating erosion, habitat fragmentation and security issues.
The goal of this project is to formalize a local access trail offering an alternative to the population who uses active and communal transportation directly at the heart of Mont-Saint-Hilaire. One of the main tasks will be to develop a new trail that meets sustainable development standards with proper signage, the closure of illegal trails to limit the degradation of the sector, and education of visitors about the conservation issues of this fragile ecosystem. The new access will be monitored on a full-time basis by patrollers. The team will inform and sensitize visitors on conservation issues, and at the same time collect access fees directly on the trail head of this local access on the GNR property. The visitor will be able to pay the fee online before visiting or directly at the trail to the patroller. This more assiduous presence will help solve the current issue of illegal trail multiplication, vandalism and non-compliance with our regulations. Specific policies on the management of this access will be put in place to encourage the local clientele that uses active and collective transport. The city of Mont-Saint-Hilaire is planning the construction of a public sanitary building including a support room dedicated to our patrollers, bike racks and a hiking trail. This path at the foothill of the mountain will connect to the GNR through our new access and trail, allowing visitors to reach our network of trails including the Dieppe summit.
This project will also allow the GNR to become part of the electric network of charging stations and give the opportunity to electric cars to visit the main entrance. To promote the development of electric charging stations in areas away from public transportation, the city is already committed to contributing a 1,000$ grant for the installation of a new electric charging station at the main entrance of the GNR.
Funds from the SPF will be used to construct the trail, infrastructure, signage, and charging station.
Map of proposed trail:
Connect with this project
martin.duval [at] mcgill.ca (Martin Duval)