Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area


Lake Saint Francois National Wildlife Area is open to the public for day-use only. While most trails are open, some facilities may remain closed until they can be safely re-opened.

Interpretive activities are suspended until further notice.

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Marsh and Forest

© Sylvain Giguère Lake Saint-François NWA - Rivière aux Saumons.


Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area (NWA) is located on the south shore of Lake Saint-François, a natural widening of the St. Lawrence River, in southwestern Quebec. Created in 1978 by Environment Canada, its purpose is to protect a unique group of wetlands with an exceptionally diverse fauna and flora. The area is recognized as a Wetland of International Significance under the Ramsar Convention.

The wildlife area is made up mainly of swamps and marshes consisting of sedge and cattail plant communities, wooded wetlands populated by Red Maple stands, as well as well-drained woods featuring communities dominated by hawthorn, hickory and maple. The biodiversity of the area is among the most remarkable in Quebec, as it is home to more than 287 animal species and 547 plant species, many of which are at risk.

Lake Saint-François NWA video (available in French only)

Some 13 species of waterfowl, including the Canada Goose, the Mallard, the American Black Duck, the Wood Duck, and the Lesser Scaup, nest in the wildlife area. During migration periods, thousands of ducks use the marshes and adjoining open waters. Of the 237 listed bird species of the NWA, many landbirds and waterbirds nest in the area, including the Northern Waterthrush, the Veery, and the Sandhill Crane. The wildlife area is also home to one of the largest Sedge Wren populations in Canada. The Blue-spotted Salamander, Eastern Common Garter Snake, and Snapping Turtle are among the amphibians and reptiles observed here. The Muskrat, Meadow Jumping Mouse, Big Brown Bat, Beaver, White-tailed Deer, and Coyote are some of the mammal species present. The site is also an important habitat for species at risk such as the Butternut, Yellow Rail, and Northern Map Turtle.

The wildlife area is exposed to a number of threats and presents management challenges related to its proximity to a large city, as well as current and past human activities. The main issues are nonpoint-source pollution, the impact of human activities, land fragmentation, the presence of invasive alien species and the development of surrounding land.

More information on Lake Saint-François NWA is provided in the summary table below.

Planning your visit

Lake Saint-François NWA is a haven for those who enjoy hiking, wildlife watching and nature photography. The services offered on-site include a visitor centre, guided tours, geocaching and various conservation awareness activities. The AMAPRE is currently administering these on-site services.

To learn more about activities at Lake Saint-François NWA, contact AMAPRE.

Public facilities: washrooms, visitor centre and parking area

Access to the Lake Saint-François NWA is restricted to designated areas and certain times of the year. Public notices listing the authorized activities within the wildlife area are posted at access points.

Special warnings: You should be aware that there may be biting insects in summer, that camping is prohibited, and that waterfowl hunting is conducted in the NWA in the fall. Ticks capable of transmitting Lyme disease may be present in the NWA. Please inform yourself on the prevention of Lyme disease before visiting.

Please note: Access to Lake Saint-François NWA is restricted to designated areas and certain times of the year. Public notices listing the authorized activities within the wildlife area are posted at access points and include hiking, nature observation and photography on the trails as well as guided canoeing and kayaking. Migratory bird hunting is permitted in fall, only in an area to the west of the main entrance. The activity is no longer authorized in aménagements Pointe Fraser I and II (enhancement works) or on either side of Ruisseau Fraser. For more information on what is permitted in NWAs, consult the NWA Management and Activities page.

Notice from Environment and Climate Change Canada

Download PDF version (PDF; 161 KB)

Environment and Climate Change Canada would like to inform the public that the Lake Saint-François NWA, located in the Municipality of Dundee, is a protected area. Established in 1978, the purpose of the NWA is to protect migratory birds, wildlife and their habitats, as well as several species at risk.

To protect this area, the Department would also like to inform people circulating in the NWA of their obligation to comply with the rules of the Canada Wildlife Act and the Wildlife Area Regulations. Failure to comply with the regulations may result in a fine or prosecution.

The following activities are authorized in designated areas: hiking; nature watching; photography; picnicking; and canoeing and kayaking on Fraser, Therrien and aux Gouins creeks.

Without a permit issued by the Minister specifying the authorized activities, the following are prohibited in the NWA:

  • Hunting, with the exception of migratory birds if in accordance with authorized periods, conditions and locations, and using an authorized hunting instrument (see subsection 3(1) of the Regulations Respecting the Management of Wildlife Areas and the Control Thereof)
  • Fishing;
  • Destroying or removing a plant;
  • Alowing any domestic animal to run at large
  • Swimming, camping or lighting a fire;
  • Oerating a conveyance;
  • Dumping or depositing any waste.

For complete information about the applicable regulations, please consult the Canada Wildlife Act, the Wildlife Area Regulations, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the Species at Risk Act.

To file a complaint or report illegal activities, please contact Environment and Climate Change Canada by phone at 1-800-668-6767 or by email at

Nothing in this notice infringes on ancestral rights or Aboriginal treaty rights.


Lake Saint-François NWA is located 50 km south of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.

From Montreal:
Take Autoroute 40 West (Trans-Canada West) and exit onto Autoroute 30 towards Autoroute 20/ON-401/Salaberry-de-Valleyfield/Toronto. Exit off of Autoroute 30 on Autoroute 530. Turn left onto QC-132/QC-201 South and continue along QC-132. Turn right onto Chemin de la Pointe-Fraser and continue to 7600 Chemin de la Pointe-Fraser, Saint-Aniset, QC J0S 1L0.

GPS: 45.472817, -73.730879

More information on services offered to the public can be obtained by contacting AMPRE or, for information on access and permitting for Lake Saint-François, contact the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map of the area

Long description for the Map

Map showing an area north of the city of Dundee and a portion of the St-Lawrence River. The provincial border between Ontario and Quebec is shown as is the border of the USA to the South of Dundee. The boundaries of the Lake St-François NWA are also indicated. The NWA contains a substantive part of the long lots between highway 132 and the St. Lawrence River along an approximately 15 km stretch and thus consists of many smaller pieces of land. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, provincial boundaries, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Lake St-François NWA can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.

Summary table

This table provides summary information for the Lake Saint-François NWA
Category Information
Protected area designation NWA
Province/territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 45°02' North 74°29' West
Size 1,317 ha
Reason for creation of protected area Protect wetlands that are exceptional because of their southernmost localization in edge of the lake Saint-François and are attended by a wide variety of fauna and flora, among which rare and at-risk species.
Date created (Gazetted) 1978 - Legal description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category III - Natural Monument or Feature: protected area set aside to protect a specific natural monument.
Additional designations
Keystone or flagship species Sandhill Crane, Sedge Wren, Great Egret, Redhead, Tall Milkweed, Aquatic and Lake Carex.
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Fifteen species under the SARA, including the Butternut, the Northern Map Turtle, the Blanding's Turtle, the Canada Warbler, the Yellow Rail and the Least Bittern. Forty-six species under the Quebec's Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species, including the Eastern Sand Darter.
Main habitat type Marshes and swamps made up of sedge and cattail plant communities; wooded wetlands populated by Red Maple stands and well-drained woods featuring communities dominated by hawthorn, hickory and maple.
Faunistic and floristic importance The NWA serves as an important breeding ground for birds and a staging area popular among migratory birds; it also provides habitats for animal and plant species at risk.
Invasive species Presence of the Common Reed, European Frogbit, Flowering Rush, Reed Canarygrass and Purple Loosestrife. Zebra and Quagga mussels live in the nearby waters.
Additional links

Birds: Canada Goose, Mallard, American Black Duck, Wood Duck, and Northern Waterthrush.

Mammals: Muskrat, Meadow Jumping Mouse, Big Brown Bat, Beaver, White-tailed Deer, and Coyote.

Reptiles and Amphibians: Blue-spotted Salamander.

Main threats and challenges Nonpoint-source pollution, impact of human activities, land fragmentation, conservation of species at risk, presence of invasive exotic species and development of surrounding land
Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage Access restricted to designated areas and certain times of the year. Activities permitted: hiking, nature observation and photography on the trails, guided canoeing and kayaking, and migratory bird hunting in fall in the area west of the main entrance

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.

Related documents

Contact information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas
801-1550, D’Estimauville Avenue
Québec, Quebec
G1J 0C3
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)

Association des membres et amis pour la protection de la réserve nationale de faune du Lake Saint-François (AMAPRE)
7600 Chemin de la Pointe-Fraser
Dundee, Quebec
J0S 1L0
Phone number: 450-264-5908

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