QUILLIAMS NATURAL RESERVE: A hidden paradise to paddle through
If you’re looking to discover an out of the ordinary, perspective to admire the spectacular eastern township nature, away from the crowds, in the Brome-Missisquoi area, you won’t need to lace up your hiking boots, but rather put on a lifejacket to find it… Here is my tale about a highly colourful nautical adventure.
On this glorious summer day, I just couldn’t resist the urge to jump on my paddleboard (SUP) one last time. Direction: Quilliams Natural Reserve. Unknown to most, quiet, with no motorboats, the reserve has been a well-kept secret in the region except for paddlers of all levels as well as all true nature lovers.
Somewhat hidden by Brome Lake, the basin where it flows to, the reserve is located upstream and takes you way inside the flood plains. Here, with my two feet well anchored on my board, I stand, witnessing a gloriously iridescent spectacle! From my position, I can have a better view of all the trees hunching over the lake while aquatic bugs crawl under my feet.
An Open Sky Live Museum
Of course, this protected aquatic ecosystem is a perfect meeting place for all fauna in the area. A self-guided circuit, designed by Brome Lake Renaissance, will have you discover 10 points of interest, the little critters that inhabit the natural reserve and recognize the local flora as well. Birds, turtles, beavers … all you need to do is print out the map, follow the numbered signs and watch for any animal life!
As I paddle further, the surrounding landscape changes: starting out somewhat like a bayou, the reserve gives me a glimpse at what a Quebec jungle might look like before floating into golden plains. Warmed by the sun, I stop just long enough to dip my feet into the fresh water and take advantage of the OH! so Zen atmosphere that prevails all over the area. One perk you get by paddleboarding is to be able to lay down on your back and just drift over the water…
After spending over an hour paddling deep into this amazing marshland without encountering a single other being, I have to turn back because the water level stops me from going any further. Back at the starting point, I end my expedition with one last swim in lake Brome as I contemplate its shores. ’Till next year, beautiful Quilliams!
Where to rent boats in Lake Brome?
Domaine des Érables rents kayaks and canoes. About fifteen minutes of rowing on the lake is needed to reach the reserve.
To experience the reserve standing on water, head for the Knowlton Marina where Aloha Surf / SUP rents paddleboards and offer to deliver them at Tyffany Park.
Guests of the Hôtel Suites Lac-Brome located at the entrance of the preserve enjoy the privilege of having a direct access to the aquatic trail thanks to the kayaks loaned by their host.
Where can you launch your boat or paddleboard?
For boat owners, launching is possible at Tiffany park. From there, you go right and go along the shores of Lake Brome for about two kilometres ’till you reach the reserve entrance.