Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area
Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area (NWA) is located about 20 kilometres (km) southeast of Picton, Ontario, along the northeast shore of Lake Ontario. Since the mid-1960s, this section of the Long Point Peninsula has been recognized as an important area for migratory birds. The geographic location and diversity of habitats causes a spectacular number of migratory passerine birds to concentrate at the tip of the peninsula. Also, large numbers of diurnal and nocturnal raptors pass through the area during spring and fall migration. There is no other location on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario where birds are known to occur in such high densities during migration. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded on the point, including songbirds, waterfowl, owls and hawks. In 1998, Prince Edward Point was designated part of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area (IBA) by Bird Life International.
The Prince Edward Point NWA occupies the eastern end of this peninsula, consisting of 518 hectare (ha) of forest, grassland, and wetland habitats. This NWA was established in 1978 and is named after Prince Edward Point, at the eastern end of the peninsula. Due to the tremendous number of migratory birds that pass through the area, the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, a non-profit organization, was established as a Canadian Migration Monitoring Network station in 1995 within the NWA. Every year, the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory bands migratory songbirds (passerine birds), raptors and owls under permits from the Canadian Wildlife Service and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF).
Thirty-one species at risk, listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) have been recorded within the NWA. For listed avian species at risk, including the Whip-poor-will, Red-headed Woodpecker and Least Bittern, the NWA serves both as an area of respite during migration and as breeding habitat. Numerous snake species can also be found in the NWA. In addition, Prince Edward Point NWA is an important staging area for migrating bats and Monarchs.
Most of the lands within the NWA are undergoing natural succession from former pasture to a mix of thickets and successional woodlands. Since the NWA is one link in a chain of essential migratory habitats, the conservation of key elements of the broader connecting landscape is of concern.
More information on Prince Edward Point NWA is provided in the summary table below.
Planning your visit
Prince Edward Point is a beautiful place to spend a day. Pack a picnic, swim at one of several small unsupervised gravel beaches or launch your boat in the harbour at the end of Long Point Road. You can also explore the small network of hiking trails to enjoy the sights and sounds of the local wildlife and their habitat. Or, for something more interactive, contact the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, which offers public programming in the spring and fall.
Public Facilities: public washroom, parking area, dock/wharf and boat ramp/launch (day use only).
Access to Prince Edward Point NWA is seasonally restricted and activities are permitted in accordance with the conservation goals of the NWA management plan. Public notices listing the authorized activities are posted at access points.
For more information on what is permitted in NWAs, consult the NWA Management and Activities page.
Follow Highway 62, also known as Bay Bridge Road (located between Toronto and Kingston on Highway 401), south. This is a picturesque drive through Prince Edward County. Stay left to continue on Highway 33. At the town of Bloomfield, continue onto Bloomfield Main Street (Highway 33). At the roundabout take the 2nd exit to continue onto Highway 33 (Loyalist Parkway). Once you reach Picton, turn right onto Bridge Street and right onto Union Street / County Road 8, then right onto County Road 17 and left onto County Road 16. Finally turn right onto County Road 13 which will take you onto Long Point Road and into the NWA.
GPS coordinates for entering the NWA: 43.937294,-76.908577
Note: Certain areas of the NWA may be closed to the public during spring and fall bird migration.
More information on access and permitting for Prince Edward Point NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Map of the area
Long description for the Map
Map showing the region south of Prince Edward Bay in Lake Ontario. The boundaries of the Prince Edward Point NWA are indicated. The NWA covers almost entirely the last 3 km of land including Point Traverse and Prince Edward Point. A road near the end of the point is excluded from the wildlife area. There is also a small portion of land on the north side that is excluded from the NWA. The scale on the map is in kilometers. 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. Prince Edward 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.
|Protected Area designation||NWA|
|Latitude/longitude||43°94' North / 76°89' West|
|Reason for Creation of protected area||Significant numbers of migratory birds stopover during spring and fall migration (songbirds, waterfowl, raptors), supports rich and diverse breeding bird species, provides habitat for species at risk, diversity of habitats including; upland, forest, grassland, coastal and inland wetlands, barrier beach, cobble beach, limestone cliffs, pond and Lake Ontario.|
|Date created (Gazetted)||1978 - Legal description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||IV - Habitat/Species Management Area|
|Keystone or flagship species||Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Saw Whet Owl, Monarch Butterfly, Eastern Garter Snake.|
|Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)||
31 species of birds at risk recorded as migrants at Prince Edward Point. Seven species at risk breed within the NWA including:
|Main habitat type||Shorelines, grassland, wetlands and forest.|
|Invasive species||Dog Strangling Vine/Pale Swallowwort, Prickly Ash, Garlic Mustard, Lilac, Red Cedar.|
Amphibians: Western Chorus Frog.
|Main threats and challenges||Invasive and exotic plants, feral domestic animal species, development pressures (marinas, waterfront residential areas, wind power installations.|
|Management Agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)|
|Public access and usage||
Public access is allowed for interpretation and limited recreation on designated trails and roads, day use only (hiking, wildlife viewing, picnicking, photography, skiing, snowshoeing) via main entrance on Long Point Road. Access to Point Traverse (Long Point) Harbour can be gained from the NWA via a boat launch for fishing (no lead sinkers) and recreational boating opportunities in Lake Ontario.
Facilities include: public parking lot, designated hiking trail, public boat launch, and washroom.
A permit is required for all research and activities outside of designated areas.
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 informationEnvironment and Climate Change Canada - Ontario Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas and Stewardship Unit
4905 Dufferin Street
Toll Free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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