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Who We Are

MECA is a nonprofit environmental conservation group started in 2004 by concerned citizens to protect & conserve the natural habitats and biodiversity on the Mont Echo, Singer Mountain ranges and surrounding land within the Sutton region.

Concerned with the need to protect local watersheds and wildlife, local citizens in cooperation with the N.C.C. and the A.C.A. in 2004 formed MONT ECHO CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION.

History of MECA

The story of the Mont Echo Conservation Association ( MECA ) started with the Ruiter Valley Land Trust ( RVLT ) and the Ice Storm of 1999; with the successful struggle of the Friends of the Watershed to confront Domtar, the formation of the Corridor Appalachian by three powerful woman (and their crew) , and the purchase of the Domtar properties by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) … It is a complicated story. It has a very good ending.

Ruiter Valley Land Trust Board of Directors

Ruiter Valley Land Trust (RVLT)


1987: the Ruiter Valley Land Trust (RVLT) was incorporated.

1990:Domtar asked the Town of Sutton for permission to log Mont Echo. They made the mistake of boasting of their plan to cut along the Jackson Stream and into the Mont Echo Gorge, “in order to cut the heart out of the mountain and therefore the heart out of the conservation movement on the ground.” In response the Herman Family organized a community petition which grew to over 4000 signatures in a Township of over 4000 residents. Upon receipt of said petition the Town of Sutton pledged that Domtar would never cut Mont Echo.

2002: Victor and Elizabeth Allistone donated 30 acres of old growth forest on Mont Echo to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This was the NCC’s first of many land donations in our corner of the Eastern Townships.

Friends of the Watershed

1998 -1999

1998: the Ice Storm

1998: Domtar obtained approval from the Town of Potton to clear-cut the top of the Singer Mountain. This forestry cutting permit was contrary to science based prescriptions for best forestry practice in Quebec. Domtar managed to clear cut 147 acres or more of hardwood forest, with much more planned.

1999: Members of the RVLT reached out to the community in order to form the Friends of the Watershed. (Michael Herman meets Charlie Weldon) Doctor Weldon took on the role of President along with Michael Herman as VP. Terri Monahan was next to join the board.

1999: The Friends of the Watershed, along with the Ruiter Valley Land Trust, The Roads Committee, and many others convinced the Township of Potton that Domtar’s ownership and stewardship of our mountains was detrimental to the common good. A petition condemning the clear cut permit, containing over 13,500 signatures, was presented to the Town Council of Potton and then to the National Assembly in Quebec. Domtar was faced with a wave of “bad press”, and wide spread opposition throughout the community.

1999: Domtar gave up its cutting permits on Singer Mountain and began negotiations to sell their properties to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

The Appalachian Corridor Project

2001 – 2003

2001/2002/2003: “The Appalachian Corridor Project” (AC) was created by Louise Gratton, Terri Monahan, and Francine Hone, using the RVLT as their home base. The AC vision, and their ability to raise government money grants, with the full support of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars of government aid through the RVLT. The sales tax rebates provided the RVLT with a surplus of some $30,000.

2002: Victor and Elizabeth Allistone donated 32 acres of old growth forest on Mont Echo to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This was the NCC’s first of many land donations in our corner of the Eastern Townships.

2003: Appalachian Corridor received its charitable status.

Purchase of the Domtar properties by NCC

2004 – 2005

2004: Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased the 10,000 acre Domtar property.

2004: The Nature Conservancy asked Louise Gratton and Jean Gaudet, Victor and Elizabeth Allistone, Brian Herman and Charles Weldon to create the Mont Echo Conservation Association. MECA. So we did. Logo designed by Liz Davidson and Louise Gratton.

2005: Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased 9.8 acres of land, plus one kilometer of Chemin de la Falaise, and donated the properties to MECA as our first dominant lands.

2005: MECA signed a wilderness conservation servitude agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada on 1880 acres of their Domtar property on Mont Echo in Sutton.

2007 – Present


2007-2020: MECA received from the local community additional donations of 11 properties and 10 servitudes for a total of 570 acres; much of which was negotiated with the land owners by Terri Monahan.

2014: “It gives me great pleasure to send you the official Certificate of Continuance of Mont Echo Conservation Association (MECA) dated October 1, 2014 and the Articles of Continuance attached to it.”

Thomas R.M. Davis  –  Associé principal, Senior Partner

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l. / LLP

2014-2019: MECA agreed to transfer its ownership of our part of Chemin de la Falaise to the Town of Sutton in return for a complicated transfer of land at the end of Chemin de Loup.

2016: MECA started our Bluebird Trail project; initiated by Michael Price and sustained by Brome Bird Care and Turkey Hill. A vibrant ongoing project.

2020: MECA negotiated an agreement for the management of the trail network and access to the Mont Echo Gorge with the NCC, Town of Sutton, the Appalachian Corridor and les Sentiers de l’Estrie.

2021: A work in progress, dependent upon the will of the community.

Our Partners