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Réserve faunique Rouge‑Matawin



Rouge-Matawin and Mont-Tremblant, Two Closely Linked Territories

The territory of Réserve faunique Rouge-Matawin has undergone several modifications since its creation, and its history is closely linked with that of Parc national du Mont-Tremblant.

In 1924, the Department of Lands and Forests wished to provide wildlife with more protection, control rivers and steams and reorganize the timber leases by turning Québec's parks into forest reserves. Changes were made to certain legal provisions, which allowed the creation of Réserve forestière de la Montagne-Tremblante (3,108 km2), adjacent to Parc de la Montagne-Tremblante (60 km² at that time). The following year, the changes were officially adopted and the park obtained its status as a forest reserve while keeping its park name. The new reserve was under the authority of the Department of Lands and Forests, while the park was under that of the Department of Colonization, Mines and Fisheries.

In 1981, the Québec government issued order-in-council 208-81, which modified the territorial limits of Parc du Mont-Tremblant. The northern section was transferred to the new Réserve faunique Rouge-Matawin, which now covered an area of 1,655 km². Later, in 1990, 261 km² were returned to Parc national du Mont-Tremblant. Today the reserve covers 1,394 km². This wildlife reserve was created to maintain conditions for control and protection of the harvesting of the reserve's wildlife.

Logging and Development of the Territory

The development of the territory largely depended on logging, which at the time was the dominant activity in the area. Lumber camps were built throughout the territory along the Rouge, Diable and Matawin rivers, these being the only available avenues for transporting wood.

Starting in 1937, the C.I.P., which was already logging softwood along Vallée de la Diable, turned to the forests in the Rouge and Macaza river basins. The park's entire territory was affected by the arrival of large forest companies. E.B. Eddy (Hull) acquired the forests of the Rivière Rouge basin in 1926 and Consolidated Paper Ltd. acquired those of the Matawin basin north of Saint-Donat through logging rights obtained in 1932. Most of the park's road network was developed by these companies. Between 1948 and 1950, Consolidated Bathurst built a road from Saint-Donat to Saint-Guillaume-Nord and Saint-Michel-des-Saints via Lac Caribou. It created the park's largest lumber camp: Dépôt Cyprès, with some fifty buildings being in use from 1948 to 1969.

In about 1958, hunting rights were abolished in the park, but some clubs continued and concentrated on fishing. At that time, the area of the park was 3,185 km2 and was home to 36 private clubs. A dozen or so of the clubs were on the territory of today's park, and about twenty on the lands that later became Réserve faunique Rouge-Matawin.

In 1968, six clubs and an outfitting camp controlled the fishing territories. One of them, Club des Quatorze, bought a Consolidated Paper Ltd. lumber camp northwest of Lac Lusignan, which is now the eastern part of Réserve faunique Rouge-Matawin.

In the time of Réserve de Joliette, (part of which became Zec Lavigne and the other part the L'Assomption sector of Parc national du Mont-Tremblant in 1981), hardwood was logged in the Lac John, Lac Mathias and Lac Sec sectors for a sawmill in Saint-Michel-des-Saints.

In many places, different features still bear witness to the lumber camp era. To meet its needs, the forest industry had to develop the territory, by opening roads and portages and by building camps, timber yards and dams. Slowly, in this huge forest, the companies established a network of access roads and sites that still exist today.

The name Rouge-Matawin comes from the two rivers that form the river system of this wildlife reserve.



Part of the Trans Québec trail cuts through Réserve faunique Rouge-Matawin from east to west for a distance of 80 km. Please note that the gas station and restaurant that were located in the Saint-Michel sector have been CLOSED permanently.


A new four-season ATV trail opened in late November, 2008. This 94-km trail crosses the reserve from west to east and creates a link between the Laurentides and Lanaudière regions. This was made possible thanks to the financial contribution of the Fédération québécoise des clubs quads and in partnership with the Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council. The trail is closed during the moose and white-tailed deer hunting season.


The canoe-camping circuits on the Rouge and Matawin rivers are a must for canoe-camping and kayaking buffs.

Fact Sheet


1,394 km2

Bodies of water

450 lakes and the Rouge and Matawin rivers


Speckled trout, Northern pike, yellow walleye, lake trout and smallmouth bass


Moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, wolf, lynx and hare


Several bird species, such as the Ruffed Grouse

Forest cover

Mixed forest

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