Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area

Notice

Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area is open to the public for day-use only. While most trails are open, some trails and visitor facilities may remain closed until such time that they can be safely re-opened.

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Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area (NWA) is located about 20 kilometres (km) southeast of Picton, Ontario, along the northeast shore of Lake Ontario. This NWA was established in 1978 and is named after Prince Edward Point, at the eastern end of the peninsula.

Description

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. In addition, 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. Approximately 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. Prince Edward Point is also one of ten national sites in the Connecting Canadians to Nature initiative.

Image of habitat at Pince Edward Point NWA
Prince Edward Point. Photo: Charles Francis

The Prince Edward Point NWA occupies the eastern end of this peninsula, consisting of 512.9 hectare (ha) of forest, grassland, and wetland habitats. 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-three 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 Eastern Meadowlark, 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 shrublands 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.

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.

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. Campfires and barbeques are prohibited at this site. You can also explore the small network of hiking trails to enjoy the sights and sounds of the local wildlife and their habitat. Alternatively, for something more interactive, contact the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, which offers public programming in the spring and fall.

Image of a shoreline of Prince Edward Point NWA
Prince Edward Point. Photo: Jeff Robinson

Public Facilities: public washroom, parking area, dock/wharf and boat ramp/launch (day use only).

Access to some trails located at Prince Edward Point NWA are seasonally restricted within the vicinity of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory. 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 Prince Edward Point NWA, include:

  1. wildlife viewing on designated roads and trails and in designated parking area
  2. hiking at the locations referred to in item 1
  3. participation in a group meal or group event involving 15 or more people at the locations referred to in item 1
  4. operating a vehicle, other than a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle, on designated roads and trails and in designated parking areas
  5. swimming at designated beach areas 
  6. boat launching and boat landing at a designated boat launch area
  7. boating
  8. overnight parking of vehicles, including boat trailers, at the parking lot of a designated boat launch area
  9. cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on designated roads and trails and in designated parking areas
  10. sport fishing from the shoreline, 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 what is permitted in NWAs, consult the NWA Management and Activities page.

Location

From Belleville: 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 second 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 NWA43.937294,-76.908577

Note: Certain areas of the NWA may be closed to the public during spring and fall bird migration. The written notice shall be posted at the entrance or boundary of the wildlife area or published on a federal government website or on other media.

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

Map - See long description below
Map of Prince Edward Point NWA
Long description

Map showing the region south of Prince Edward Bay on 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.

Summary table

Summary table of Prince Edward Point NWA
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/territory Ontario
Latitude/longitude 43°94' North / 76°89' West
Size 550 hectares
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
  • shrubland
  • grassland
  • coastal and inland wetlands
  • barrier beach
  • cobble beach
  • limestone cliffs
  • ponds
  • Lake Ontario
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) Twenty-nine species at risk, listed under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), have been reported at the Prince Edward Point NWA including:

Main habitat type
  • shorelines
  • grassland
  • wetlands
  • Forest
Invasive species
  • European swallowwort
  • Garlic mustard
  • Common lilac
  • Common buckthorn
Additional links
Main threats and challenges Invasive and exotic plants, encroachment of hyper abundant native species such as red cedar, 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 Authorized activities in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations for Prince Edward Point NWA, include:
  1. wildlife viewing on designated roads and trails and in designated parking area
  2. hiking at the locations referred to in item 1
  3. participation in a group meal or group event involving 15 or more people at the locations referred to in item 1
  4. operating a vehicle, other than a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle, on designated roads and trails and in designated parking areas
  5. swimming at designated beach areas 
  6. boat launching and boat landing at a designated boat launch area
  7. boating
  8. overnight parking of vehicles, including boat trailers, at the parking lot of a designated boat launch area
  9. cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on designated roads and trails and in designated parking areas
  10. sport fishing from the shoreline, 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 and Stewardship Unit
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T4

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

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