Pointe de l'Est National Wildlife Area


Pointe de l’Est National Wildlife Area is open to the public for day-use only. While most trails are open, some facilities may remain closed until such time that they can be safely re-opened.

Interpretive activities are suspended until further notice.

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Pointe de l'Est National Wildlife Area (NWA) covers an expanse of dunes, barrens and ponds situated at the northeastern tip of the Magdalen Islands archipelago in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Created in 1978 by Environment Canada, its purpose is to protect important habitats serving 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 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. The area is currently used by more than 150 bird species and 10 or so mammal species.

Canada. Pointe de l'Est National Wildlife Area.

During nesting periods, the site's open areas provide suitable habitats for the American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Red-breasted Merganser, Greater Scaup and colonial birds like the Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, and Black-headed Gull. Forest environments are used by the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Rusty Blackbird, Blackpoll Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, and 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 the Black-bellied Plover, the Sanderling and the Greater Yellowlegs. Mammals, among them the Red Fox and the Coyote, also frequent this remarkable environment.

The wildlife area is exposed to a number of threats and presents management challenges, including the impact of all-terrain vehicle 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.

Piping Plover


NWAs are protected and managed according to the Wildlife Area Regulations under the Canada Wildlife Act. The primary purpose of NWAs is the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat. For this purpose, and according to the legislation, Environment and Climate Change Canada can prohibit all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife. Consequently, public access and activities are prohibited in most NWAs. Nonetheless, the Ministry has the ability to authorize some activities, whether through public notice or the issuance of permits, as long as these are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.

Access to Pointe de l'Est NWA is restricted to designated areas. 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 waterfowl hunting in the fall.

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 surveys, wildlife enhancement projects or 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); or 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)
  • fish
  • 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 enviro@info.ec.gc.ca.

This notice shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any Aboriginal, treaty or other rights of Aboriginal peoples.

Pointe de l'Est NWA, landscape

Public services

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

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Pointe de l'Est 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.

Long description

Map showing Île de l'est, Quebec, and the surrounding water and land. The boundaries of Pointe de l'est NWA area indicated. The protected area is separated into several sections that are spread 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.

Summary table

This table provides summary information for the Pointe de l'Est NWA
Category Information
Protected area designation National Wildlife Area
Province/Territory Quebec
Latitude/longitude 47°38' North / 61°27' West
Size 724 ha
Reason for creation of protected area Protection of important habitats serving as staging areas for migratory birds, particularly shorebirds, and breeding grounds for species at risk, including the Piping Plover and Horned Grebe.
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 Piping Plover, Horned Grebe
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) The Piping Plover (only remaining nesting site of this species in Quebec), Horned Grebe, , and Gulf of St. Lawrence Aster
Main habitat type Dunes, marshes, ponds, barrens and stunted forests
Faunistic and floristic importance Strategic staging area for migratory birds (particularly shorebirds). Important breeding ground for many bird species, including the Horned Grebe.
Invasive species There is little documentation on invasive alien species in the NWA. The micro-lepidopteran (moth) Paraswammerdamia conspersella could damage the crowberry barrens.
Additional links

Birds: American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black-Bellied Plover, Sanderling and Greater Yellowlegs.

Mammals: Red Fox and Coyote

Main threats and challenges Impact of all-terrain vehicle use and risk of accidental spills associated with marine transportation.
Management Agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage Access restricted to designated areas. Activities permitted: hiking, nature observation and photography on the trails (8 km); waterfowl hunting in the fall.

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)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

La Salicorne
377, Route 199
Grande-Entrée (Quebec)
G4T 7A5

Telephone: 418-985-2833

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