Pointe de l'Est National Wildlife Area
Pointe de l’Est National Wildlife Area is open to the public during the day. Interpretive activities are now open.
Please note that for health and safety measures social distancing is encouraged.
Respect the environment and leave no trace.
Remember, you are responsible for your own safety.
Pointe de l'Est National Wildlife Area (NWA) covers an expanse of dunes, barrens and ponds is located at the northeastern tip of the Magdalen Islands archipelago in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
In 1978, Environment Canada created Pointe de l’est NWA to protect important habitats. The NWA serves as staging areas for migratory birds, especially shorebirds, and as breeding grounds for species at risk like the piping plover and the horned grebe.
Located in a maritime environment, the area is currently used by more than 150 bird species and 10 or so mammal species. The wildlife area features a wide diversity of habitats including:
- red sandstone outcrops
- fixed and mobile dunes covered by fragile beach grass patches
- crowberry barrens
- saline prairies
- coniferous forests
- marshes as well as fresh
- brackish and salt water ponds
During nesting periods, the site's open areas provide suitable habitats for colonial birds along with other bird species such as:
- American black duck
- northern pintail
- red-breasted merganser
- greater scaup
- herring gull
- great black-backed gull
- black-headed gull
Other species rather use Forest environments, such as:
- ruby-crowned kinglet
- red-breasted nuthatch
- rusty blackbird
- blackpoll warbler
- magnolia warbler
- fox sparrow
Two species at risk breed within or near the wildlife area: the horned grebe nests at the edges of ponds in the NWA and the piping plover nests on sandy shores surrounding the wildlife area. Numerous shorebird species are observed during the fall migration, including:
- black-bellied plover
- greater yellowlegs
Mammals, in the NWA include:
- red fox
The wildlife area is exposed to a number of threats and presents management challenges, including the impact of motorized vehicules use and the risk of accidental spills associated with marine transportation.
More information on Pointe de l'Est NWA is provided in the summary table below.
Under the Canada Wildlife Act, NWAs are protected and managed in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations. The primary purpose of NWAs is to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. For this purpose and according to the legislation, all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife can be prohibited. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all other activities are prohibited in all NWAs. However, some activities may be authorized through Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWA Management and Activities section.
Any authorized activities are listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations; signage is also posted at access points.
Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Pointe de l'Est NWA, include:
- Non-commercial wildlife viewing on designated trails and at lookouts and observation towers and in designated areas
- Non-commercial hiking on designated trails
- Participation in a non-commercial group meal or non-commercial group event involving 15 or more people in designated areas
- Non-commercial operation of a vehicle, other than a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle, on designated roads and in designated parking areas
- Non-commercial operation of an all-terrain vehicle on designated trails and in designated parking areas
- Non-commercial berry picking, by hand and without tools, up to a maximum daily amount of 22.7 litres (5 gallons) of all types of berries combined, per person, in designated areas
- Non-commercial snowshoeing on designated trails
- Sport hunting of migratory birds — including with dogs off-leash — without a commercial guide, from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset in designated areas, if the hunting is carried out
- in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Quebec for sport hunting in that province; and
- without the use of toxic shot
Permits may be issued for research activities in keeping with the priorities set out in the management plan for the wildlife area or for other conservation activities such as:
- wildlife enhancement projects
- restoration of habitats
Priority will be given to collaborative activities with local agencies and organizations to promote the protection and the conservation of wildlife species and their habitat in the NWA. For example, initiatives could be launched or continued with the following entities:
- universities or research centers to address gaps in scientific knowledge
- the province to implement recovery measures for species at risk (particularly those falling under provincial jurisdiction)
- non-governmental organizations or municipal authorities to build public awareness of the wildlife area's objectives
More information on access and permitting for Pointe de l'Est NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Notice from Environment and Climate Change Canada
Environment and Climate Change Canada would like to inform the public that Pointe de l'Est NWA--located in the municipality of Grosse-Île in the Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine administrative region--is a protected area. Since its creation in 1978, the NWA has been protecting wildlife and habitats, particularly those of migratory birds and species at risk.
To protect the area, the Department is informing NWA visitors of their obligation to follow certain rules, as dictated by the Canada Wildlife Act and its corresponding regulations. Anyone who neglects to follow these rules or obey the laws in effect may be subject to fines and prosecution.
Hiking, nature viewing, photography, vehicle parking at official sites and use of the marked ATV trail are authorized in designated areas.
Without a permit issued by the Minister, it is strictly prohibited for anyone in the NWA to:
- move about (on foot, on any motor vehicle, on horse, etc.) except in designated areas
- hunt, unless you are hunting migratory birds, in which case you must be in compliance with the authorized periods, conditions, locations and hunting instruments (see section 3.(1) of the Wildlife Area Regulations)
- destroy or remove a plant
- allow any domestic animal to run at large
- swim, picnic, camp or carry on any other recreational activity or light a fire
- operate any mode of transportation
- dump or deposit any trash
For complete information on applicable regulations, please consult the Canada Wildlife Act; Wildlife Area Regulations; Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; and Species at Risk Act at Environment and Climate Change Canada website.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This notice shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any Aboriginal, treaty or other rights of Aboriginal peoples.
Activities and services at Pointe de l'Est NWA are offered by the La Salicorne organization and include guided hiking tours and outreach activities to build awareness of wildlife species habitat conservation. Please contact La Salicorne for additional information on the activities and services available.
Activities and services
- Outreach activities
- Guided tours
- Interpretive panels
- 8 km of hiking trails
Location of wildlife area (access)
Route 199 in the municipality of Grosse-Île
More information on services offered to public can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Map of the area
Map showing Île de l'est, Quebec, and the surrounding water and land. The boundaries of Pointe de l'est NWA area indicated. The NWA is interspersed with private land across Île de l'est between the St. Lawrence Gulf and Havre de la Grande Entrée, to the east of Grosse-Île. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, intertidal zones, 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.
|Protected area designation||NWA|
|Latitude/Longitude||47°38' North / 61°27' West|
|Reason for creation of protected area||
|Date created (Gazetted)||1978 – Legal description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||Natural Monument or Feature – (III): Protected area set aside to protect a specific natural monument|
|Keystone or flagship species|
|Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)||
|Main habitat type||
|Faunistic and floristic importance||
|Main threats and challenges||
|Management Agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)|
|Public access and usage||Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Pointe de l'Est NWA, include:
Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page, any notice posted at the NWA site and the law, the law prevails, as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Quebec Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
801-1550, D’Estimauville Avenue
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
377, Route 199
Phone number: 418-985-2833
- Pointe de L’est NWA management plan
- Pointe de L’est NWA pamphlet
- Pointe de L’est NWA on Google maps (Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name)
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