In the 1960s, he bought the first piece of land near Eastman to build a cottage. Then he bought some fallow land and began improving it, starting with drainage, roads and reforestation.
He settled there at the end of the 1980s and built a sugar shack, which he ran as a family affair. Bernard Berger kept bees and continued his reforestation, planting 65,000 trees. In a provincial forest producers’ competition in 1989 and 1990, his work earned him two distinctions from the Quebec Department of Energy and Resources. In 1992, he was awarded Great Merit by the Order of Forestry Merit of Quebec.
In 1998, Mr. Berger decided to leave his land to his three sons: Michaël, René and Mario. The three brothers wanted to continue the work in the forest using a sustainable development approach. They got together to develop their concept – accommodation in the woods – “forest living”. Ecotourism was an essential part of their sustainable development vision.
In 1999, the forest lodging family business, “Entre Cîmes et Racines” was created. The first rentals (Le Forestier and Le Sucrier) started in the summer of 2002. To develop environmentally friendly cottages in the woods, they pooled their creativity and expertise with their father’s. They set three objectives: a quality product, respect for the woodland environment and a unique style from each cottage in harmony with its surroundings. They used quality building materials and wood from their own forest, milling the lumber for the cottage construction and furniture. The interiors were carefully designed to ensure the same quality, to be welcoming and to be comfortable at any time of the year. There are now fourteen ecolodges in addition to the Campanile, which houses the administration, the reception and the sanitary facilities.
Knowledgeable foresters, the Berger brothers practice selective logging. This technique “tidies” the forest and helps regrowth, respecting the environment. They build using pilings on bedrock, an approach that minimizes disturbance to the environment and means the ecolodges blend in with their natural setting. The nature surrounding the ecolodges makes for greater privacy and lets visitors appreciate the magnificent forest.
That’s what the owners want to share with visitors who come to Entre Cîmes et Racines. Their vision of forest architecture strives to be creative, harmonious and most of all, natural. The cabins are in varied ecological niches so that visitors can discover all the diversity the forest offers. The same vision is reflected in the hiking trails, where visitors can observe the local flora and fauna.
A pioneer in Quebec ecotourism, Entre Cîmes et Racines was the regional winner the Quebec Grand Prize of Tourism in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. Provincially, the work of the team at Entre Cîmes et Racines won the Gold in 2008 and 2012, and the Bronze in 2010. In 2011, the lodging business (made it into an exclusive club) since it was a finalist for the Canadian Tourism Awards in the Sustainable Tourism category, given to an organization for its exceptional contribution to sustainable tourism in Canada.
In the future, Michaël, René and Mario would like to further develop the educational aspect, so that people can learn about forest ecology. More unusual, original ecolodges are on the drawing board. And of course, all the work could not be achieved without the participation of an exceptional team, at all levels of the business.
To perpetuate the values of the family business: François-Xavier Berger was appointed CEO in October 2016. This trusted man and nature lover has been involved in the company since his childhood. Upon his arrival, several mandates were waiting for him to optimize the quality of service offered to clients: renovation of eco-facilities, improvement of infrastructure and collective development of a vision for the future.
1998: After improving the land and planting 65,000 trees, Bernard Berger signs over the 175 acres to his three sons: Michaël, René and Mario.
1999: Creation of the Entre Cîmes et Racines forest lodging business
2002 (summer): Le Forestier and Le Sucrier available for rent
2003: Le Montagnard and Du Ruisseau available for rent
2004: La Grande-Ourse available for rent
2005: Inauguration of the Campanile and La Gélinotte available for rent
2006: Le Septième Ciel available for rent
2007: La Coulée Douce available for rent
2008: La Table Ronde available for rent
2009 (December): L’Escale à Deux available for rent
2010: A hangar behind the Campanile is built, for machinery, lumber, bicycles and a mechanical workshop
2011: Inauguration of Le Hobbit, the first underground rental lodging in Québec
2014: Inauguration of La Pierre de Feu, the second underground rental lodging in Quebec
2017: La Sainte Paix available for rent
2018: Le Seigneur des Bois available for rent
2020: Added six campgrounds