The Escarpment is the dividing line between the rock of the Canadian Shield, which covers more than half of Canada, and the St. Lawrence Lowlands. It rises 270 metres from the floor of the Ottawa Valley, and extends over more than 30 kilometres.

Home to Rare Species

The Eardley Escarpment’s southern exposure gives it a hot, dry microclimate, similar to the forests of the American Midwest. Because of this unique microclimate, the Escarpment is home to many rare species. More than half of Gatineau Park’s 145 plant and animal species at risk are found on the Eardley Escarpment.

Plants

In Quebec, the Eardley Escarpment features roughly 50 species at risk, primarily herbaceous plants, and trees such as

  • white oak
  • butternut
  • eastern red cedar.

The eastern red cedar (or eastern juniper) is a species that is extremely rare in Quebec. The Escarpment contains more than 80 percent of all eastern red cedar trees inventoried in the province. This small tree can live for a very long time. The oldest surveyed in the park is over 400 years old.

Wildlife

The Escarpment houses Quebec’s only known population of the juniper hairstreak, a rare, green-winged butterfly. Its caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the juniper without damaging the tree.

The majority of Gatineau Park’s white-tailed deer spend winter on the Escarpment, as the area is well protected from cold, northerly winds.

Help us protect Gatineau Park, and leave no trace.

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