Long Point National Wildlife Area

Bare tree with sand dunes
Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada. Long Point NWA- Landscape.

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Long Point National Wildlife Area (NWA) is situated on Long Point, a sandy peninsula located in Port Rowan, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Erie. Established in 1978, it is Ontario's largest NWA, covering 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, not to mention the more than 300 different migratory bird species that visit the peninsula.

The Long Point NWA is of extraordinary importance to wildlife. 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 that are home to a wide variety of species. More than 80 bird species nest on the point and 75% of all migratory birds in Ontario have been observed in the NWA. In addition, more than 60 species of fish and many rare plants, reptiles and amphibians can also be found 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 and Prothonotary Warbler. In addition, 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, with part of the NWA sheltering 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, protecting 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.


NWAs are protected and managed according to the Wildlife Area Regulations under the Canada Wildlife Act. The primary purpose of NWAs is the protection and conservation of wildlife and their habitat. For this purpose, and according to the legislation, Environment and Climate Change Canada can prohibit all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all activities are prohibited. Nonetheless, Environment and Climate Change Canada has the ability to authorize some activities, whether through public notice or the issuance of permits, as long as these 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. 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. Public notices listing the activities permitted within the NWA are posted at area access points.

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

Map of the Area

  • Long Point NWA boundaries.
Long description for the Map

Map showing the area surrounding Ryersons Island, southern Ontario, in Lake Erie. The boundaries of the two units that make up the Long Point NWA are indicated. The Thoroughfare Unit covers both land and permanent water located closer to Inner Bay and the mainland, while the Long Point Unit extends over both land and permanent water extending further east into Lake Erie. The scale on the map is in kms. Permanent water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries. Long Point NWA can also be viewed using Google Maps. Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name.

Summary Table

This table provides summary information for the Long Point NWA
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 Tundra Swans, Eastern Foxsnake, American Wigeon, Bald Eagle.
Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)

Threatened: Least Bittern, Red-headed Woodpecker, Spotted Gar, and Common Hoptree.

Endangered: Piping Plover, Prothonotary Warbler, King Rail, Eastern Foxsnake, Cucumber Tree, Horsetail Spike-rush, Queen Snake, Fowler's Toad, and Lake Chubsucker.

Special concern: Short-eared Owl, Eastern Ribbonsnake, Milksnake, Monarch Butterfly, and Swamp Rose Mallow.

Main habitat type Wetland and woodland habitat.
Invasive species Common Reed (Phragmites australis), Mute Swans, European frog-bit, Silver poplar, Alder.
Additional links Birds: Canvasback.
Main threats and challenges Controlling exotic invasive species (Phragmites, Mute Swans) to maintain healthy level of biodiversity. 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 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 prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.

Contact Information

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto Ontario
M3H 5T4
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
Email: ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca
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