Long Point National Wildlife Area


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.

We are committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians, visitors and employees. Social and physical distancing restrictions will remain in place until further notice from local and regional health authorities.

For more information, please consult our Q&A page.

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.


Long Point National Wildlife Area (NWA) is situated on Long Point, a sandy peninsula located in Port Rowan, Ontario. It’s on the north shore of Lake Erie. Established in 1978, it is Ontario's largest NWA. It covers 3284 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. Also, more than 300 different migratory bird species visit the peninsula.

Sand dunes habitat of Long Point NWA
Long Point NWA landscape showing sand, grass, and small trees

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.

More information on Long Point NWA is provided in the summary table below.

Tree, sand dunes and grass habitat of Long Point NWA
Long Point NWA landscape showing sand dunes, trees, shrubs, and grassy areas


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 their 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 activities are prohibited. However, some activities may be authorized through public notice or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs Management and Activities section.

Access to the majority of Long Point NWA is not permitted. However the Thoroughfare Point area of the NWA is open to the public from mid-April to mid-September for "quiet recreation" such as canoeing and beach walking.

For more information on access and permitting for Long Point NWA, contact the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.

Map of the area

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

Map showing the surrounding of Ryersons Island in Lake Erie. The map indicates the two units that make up Long Point NWA. 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. An inset shows 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
Category Information
Protected area designation NWA
Province/territory Ontario
Latitude/longitude 42°553933' North / -80°174504' West
Size (ha) 3,284 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) 1978 - 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) Threatened:


Special concern:

Main habitat type Wetland and woodland habitat
Invasive species
  • common reed (phragmites australis)
  • mute swans
  • European frog-bit
  • silver poplar
  • alder
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 Public access to some areas is permitted from mid-April to mid-September for beach walking and canoeing.

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice legally prevails.

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: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca

Related links

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: