Who we are

Located in the hearth of the Appalachian corridor, a few kilometres from Mansonville in the Eastern Townships, a narrow valley flows through Québec’s Sutton Mountain range. This region, nestled in an unspoiled environment where the forest is unfragmented, constitutes one of last wilderness areas in Southeastern Québec.

Donate to the Ruiter VAlley Land TrustCreated in 1987, the Ruiter Valley Land Trust (RVLT) is a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to conserve and protect wildlife in its natural habitat. The RVLT acquires and manages land and conservation servitudes in perpetuity. The land trust owns 290 hectares in the Ruiter Valley where it manages a network of 28 kilometres of trails for the enjoyment of the local community and the general public.

A little history

Pond with herbs
In the 1960s, the wilderness of the Ruiter Valley drew Robert Shepherd, a Montréal psychiatrist who loved to camp, canoe and rough it in the woods. This father of three had bought an old farm in Mansonville on the eastern slope of the valley. Robert later bought other properties in the valley and constructed log buildings to house a living community for healing schizophrenics

In 1987, Stansje and Robert gave 162 hectares of land to the land trust in the hope that the area would one day be covered with old-growth forests. The Ruiter Valley Land Trust was born. A few years later, on a clear, sunny day, Robert took his family for a drive in the Jeep pick-up truck. He drove as far as he could up the dirt road in the mountain. The view was magnificent. There lay the Ruiter Valley, surrounded by the Sutton Mountains. “Helping to set up the Land Trust is the best thing I have ever done”, said Robert. “When the time comes to head off on the long paddle, I'll be proud of the Land Trust, and comforted to think the peregrine falcon will still have large tracts of forest to call its own”. The Land trust was then three-years old.

When Robert drove that truck up the mountain, his body was riddled with cancer. What drove him to undertake something so difficult at such a time? Certainly his love and his sense of responsibility for the wilderness and his determination to leave it as a legacy for posterity. He died a week later. The Ruiter Valley Land Trust lives on.

Mission of the Ruiter Valley Land Trust

Sunset at parking 1
© M-C Planet
The objectives of the Ruiter Valley Land Trust as stated in the charter, are:
To maintain tracts of land in perpetuity in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and elsewhere, as forest and open country for a view to the preservation of the wilderness, and its enjoyment by members of the local community, and the general public.

To conduct such other activities as may help preserve the rural nature of the area, for example, the acquisition of land, the acquisition of development rights (easements and servitudes), the maintenance of productive farm and forest land, the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries.

To promote education and research into the conservation and proper use of our natural resources, human, physical and environmental, and to act as an information center for other conservation groups, and the general public. Results of any and all research will be published and made available to the public.

To promote the concepts of preservation of the wilderness in schools and other institutions, through lectures, films, seminars and field trips.