Long Point National Wildlife Area

Notice

Thoroughfare Unit beach and Long Point Unit beach are open for day use from mid-April to mid- September. Beach availability is subject to high-water conditions. Beach access may also be subject to direction from federal and provincial health authorities.

The rest of Long Point National Wildlife Area is open to permittees only, as usual.

Respect the environment and leave no trace.

Remember, you are responsible for your own safety.

Long Point National Wildlife Area is in Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Erie. It is an important area for waterfowl and migratory birds.

Description

Long Point National Wildlife Area (NWA) is situated on Long Point, a sandy peninsula located in Port Rowan, Ontario. It is on the north shore of Lake Erie. Established in 1980, it is Ontario's largest NWA. It covers 3,284 ha. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, the area is one of the most important staging grounds on the continent for waterfowl. Hundreds of thousands of migrating birds pass through Long Point every spring and fall. In addition, more than 300 different migratory bird species visit the peninsula.

Sand dunes habitat of Long Point NWA
Long Point NWA

Shaped by erosion and deposition over centuries and mainly undisturbed, the NWA is comprised of a diversity of habitats including marshes, beaches, dunes and forests. The NWA is home to a wide variety of species. More than 80 bird species nest on the point and people have observed 75% of all migratory birds in Ontario in the NWA. In addition, one can find over 60 species of fish and many rare plants, reptiles, and amphibians here.

The NWA provides habitat to a number of federally and provincially identified species at risk. Some of the more notable endangered species include:

  • king rail
  • piping plover
  • prothonotary warbler

Young bald eagles were reintroduced at Long Point and other sites on the Great Lakes in a successful effort to bring these birds back from the brink of extinction.

Long Point is recognized provincially and world-wide as a wetland area of extraordinary ecological and social importance. Part of the NWA shelters a portion of the large wetland complex designated as a Ramsar site. Ten percent of the world's populations of Canvasbacks and American Wigeons stop over here during their migration. Finally, Long Point NWA is a part of the International Network of Monarch Butterfly Reserves. It protects thousands of monarchs migrating to and from the United States and Mexico every year.

Find more information on Long Point NWA in the summary table below.

Tree, sand dunes and grass habitat of Long Point NWA
Long Point NWA

Management

Under the Canada Wildlife Act, NWAs are protected and managed in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations. The primary purpose of NWAs is to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. For this purpose and according to the legislation, all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife can be prohibited. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all other activities are prohibited in all NWAs. However, some activities may be authorized through Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWA Management and Activities section.

Any authorized activities are listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations; signage is also posted at access points.
Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Long Point NWA, include:

  1. wildlife viewing on designated beaches up to the dunes during the period beginning on May 15 in any year and ending on September 15 in the same year
  2. hiking at the locations referred to in item 1 during the period referred to in item 1
  3. swimming at designated beach areas
  4. motorized boating in designated areas at a maximum speed of 8 km/h
  5. non-motorized boating in designated areas
  6. sport hunting of waterfowl, including with dogs off-leash, in designated areas from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset, if the hunting is carried out
    1. in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Ontario for sport hunting in that province; and
    2. without the use of toxic shot
  7. sport fishing, in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Ontario for sport fishing in that province

For more information on access and permitting for Long Point NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map of the area

Map of Long Point NWA
Map of Long Point NWA
Long description

This map shows the surrounding of Ryersons Island in Lake Erie. The map indicates the two units that make up Long Point National Wildlife Area. The Thoroughfare Unit is located western and covers both land and permanent water located closer to Inner Bay. The Long Point Unit extends over both land and permanent water. It extends further east into Lake Erie. The scale on the map is in kilometers. The map indicates permanent water and roads. A small inset national map situates the NWA’s location in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries.

Summary table

Summary table of Long Point National Wildlife Area
Category Information
Protected area designation National Wildlife Area
Province/territory Ontario
Latitude/longitude 42°553933' North / -80°174504' West
Size (ha) Total: 3,200 ha
  • Long Point Unit: 2,850 ha
  • Thoroughfare Unit: 350 ha
Reason for creation of protected area
  • Significant staging area for migrating waterfowl
  • Extensive songbird migration
  • Rare/unusual species
  • Presence of species at risk
Date created (Gazetted) 1980 - Legal Description
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management category IV - Habitat/Species Management Area
Additional designations
Keystone or flagship species
Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) Vascular Plants:

Molluscs:

Invertebrates:

Fishes:

Reptiles:

Amphibians:

Birds:

Mammals:

Main habitat type Wetland and woodland habitat
Invasive species Flora:

  • garlic mustard
  • European black alder
  • Japanese barberry
  • smooth brome
  • flowering-rush
  • Canada thistle
  • European frog-bit
  • purple loosestrife
  • white sweet-clover
  • Eurasian water-milfoil
  • reed canarygrass
  • European lineage of common reed (Phragmites australis subsp. australis)
  • white poplar
  • bittersweet nightshade
  • blue cattail

Fauna:

  • faucet snail
  • Chinese mystery snail
  • mute swan
  • common carp
  • zebra mussel
  • quagga mussel
  • double-crested cormorant
  • round goby
Additional links
Main threats and challenges
  • invasive species (phragmites, mute swans)
  • over-browsing of vegetation by white-tailed deer
  • unauthorized public use and recreational boating
  • potential exposure to pollution from shipping within close proximity to the NWA
Management agency Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)
Public access and usage Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Long Point NWA, include:

  1. wildlife viewing on designated beaches up to the dunes during the period beginning on May 15 in any year and ending on September 15 in the same year
  2. hiking at the locations referred to in item 1 during the period referred to in item 1
  3. swimming at designated beach areas
  4. motorized boating in designated areas at a maximum speed of 8 km/h
  5. non-motorized boating in designated areas
  6. sport hunting of waterfowl, including with dogs off-leash, in designated areas from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset, if the hunting is carried out
    1. in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Ontario for sport hunting in that province; and
    2. without the use of toxic shot
  7. sport fishing, in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Ontario for sport fishing in that province

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page, any notice posted at the NWA site and the law, the law prevails, as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity. 

Contact us

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Program
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, ON
M3H 5T4

Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca

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