The Gleaner

National Wildlife Area boasts new welcome centre and observation tower

The newly constructed welcome centre at the Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area (NWA) in Dundee is now open to visitors for the summer season. The team that manages it, the Friends of the Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area non-profit organization, is looking forward to a full return to pre-pandemic services this summer. These include guided tours by foot, rabaska, kayak, or canoe, as well as over a dozen new interactive activities.

“It feels amazing to finally be in a new and improved space to cater to our new and returning visitors,” says Julia Nieuwenhof, who is responsible for communications and marketing with the organization.
The welcome centre includes a gallery space that is currently featuring a photo exhibit entitled Wild Beauties. Presented by the Canadian Wildlife Service, the travelling exhibit includes photographs taken within protected wildlife reserves across the country. “It is a great opportunity to learn more about the treasures of our surrounding flora and fauna,” says Nieuwenhof.


Karina LeClair, the director of the Friends of the Lake Saint-François NWA, stands with two team members, Julia Nieuwenhof and Dylan Burrows, outside the new welcome centre at the site in Dundee. PHOTO Sarah Rennie


The welcome centre is not the only new addition to the Lake Saint-François NWA. Earlier this year, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced the construction of an observation tower in the Egret Seawall (Digue aux Aigrettes) area. The tower will improve viewing and overall visitor experience along the trail, which is known for being a good location for birdwatchers and photographers. New benches and picnic tables were installed at the site last year after it was re-opened to the public last July, following work to raise the dike. According to the announcement issued by ECCC, the work for the tower will be done carefully, with respect for the habitats and species at the site.

The NWA protects a unique group of wetlands of remarkable biodiversity that is recognized by the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international significance. It is home to more than 287 animal and 547 plant species, many of which are at risk.

“There is no other place like the reserve in the Haut-Saint-Laurent,” says Nieuwenhof. “It holds a lot of beauty, not only in the landscape, but also in the richness of its biodiversity,” she explains, noting visitors will also find a welcoming team on site.

More information on the Friends of the Lake Saint-François NWA is available online at


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