A green space where time stops still for a moment to marvel at the riches of nature!

The Barnston-Ouest forêt-témoin is a jewel. The Municipal authorities wish that both the citizens of the Municipality and all those who value the outdoors and nature, re-appropriate the forest.

Initially, farmers used the land for agricultural purposes. Farming activities ceased around 1965 to make way for the cultivation of Christmas trees, a business which terminated a few years later. In 2005 the Municipality acquired the land of 251 acres on Ball Brook Road. Read more about the story >

Peter-Kilburn Trail

Named in honour of a great citizen of Barnston-Ouest, Peter Kilburn (1937-2015), this is the very first trail of the Forêt-témoin. Peter loved to walk through his fields and his forest to explore new forest practices. Concerned about the future of the Quebec hardwood forest, he put much energy and heart into this project.

Along 2.5 km, the trail crosses a group of conifers, a cedar grove and runs, a short distance, along a small stream.

General information

The trail is accessible at all times.
Open to hikers and snowshoers exclusively.
Access is free.
No services are available on site.
Picnic tables and trash cans are on site.
Dogs are only allowed if on a leash.

How to get there

Coming from Magog:

  • Follow Autoroute 55 Sud and take exit 21 towards 141 Sud;
  • Follow 141 Sud and cross the village of Ayer's Cliff in the direction of Coaticook;
  • About 1 km from the Ayer's Cliff exit, cross Road 143 (4-way stop);
  • In less than 1 1/2 km, turn right on the way to Way's Mills;
  • Cross the hamlet of Way's Mills:
  • At the exit of the hamlet, continue on Ball Brook Road passing between the two churches;
  • Count about 5 km, turn left, and you are there.

Coming from Coaticook:

  • Follow Road 141 Nord;
  • Turn left on Madore Road and continue for 7 or 8 km;
  • Turn left between the two churches facing the Ball Brook Road;
  • Count about 5 km, turn left, and you are there.

About the story

In 2007, after having localized the site and obtained the authorizations from the CPTAQ, the Municipality sold the House located on the land. Barnston-Ouest then engaged in a program of cleaning the place and logging. After two years of intervention and given the quantity and quality of the young forest, the Municipality ceased forestry operations. The Municipal Council then entrusted the members of the Forest Committee with the mandate to reflect on the future of the property.

The members of the Forest Committee started by examining the conclusions of the 2004 report submitted by the Study Commission on Public Forest Management (Coulombe Report) explicitly targeting the depletion of the hardwood forest in southern Quebec and recommending directions for change, including conservation, management, research and education.

The work of the Coulombe Commission supported the conclusions of a study by the Regional Conference of Elected Representatives of the Eastern Townships (CRÉE)1 on the pre-colonial composition of the Eastern Townships forest. Finally, a new law on sustainable forest management was adopted in 2010 by the National Assembly. These were just some of the guidelines to guide the Forest Committee’s thinking.

With the recommendations of the Forest Committee, the Municipal Council authorized the realization of studies, one to identify the forest's potential for its forest restoration and the other, to explore various modalities of access for the population. The Appalachian Corridor2 and Cultur'Innov3 organizations deposited, in 2015, two reports on the potential of the Barnston-Ouest forest and its management.

The forest development project then took shape. It includes conservation activities, forest restoration, trail development and interpretation of the fauna and flora.

In 2015 the Municipality began work to build a parking lot to accommodate a dozen cars, develop a very first trail and plant more than 600 trees. Forest development will continue over the next years.

1 CRÉ Estrie, regional Commission on natural resources and the territory, see regional integrated development plan for natural resources and the territory of Estrie, 2014.
2 Ecological inventories report, Barnston-Ouest Forêt-témoin and integrated resource management plan of the Barnston-Ouest Forêt-témoin.)
3Inventory and characterization of the land of the Municipality of Barnston-Ouest for the cultivation and harvesting of non-timber forest products (NWFP)