Shepody National Wildlife Area
Shepody National Wildlife Area is open to the public during the day and trails are open. The Shorebird Discovery Centre is closed until such time that it can be safely re-opened. We hope to provide visitors with additional access to services and facilities in the near future.
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Shepody National Wildlife Area (NWA) is located in New Brunswick. Established in 1980, it provides important habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife. Shepody NWA is a wonderful place for hiking and wildlife observation.
Shepody NWA was established in 1980. The NWA contains three separate areas: Mary’s Point, New Horton, and Germantown Marsh. These areas are situated near the Chignecto and Shepody Bays.
Mary’s Point and adjacent Shepody Bay are recognized as:
- a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention
- a Site of Hemispheric Importance by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network
- an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International
International bodies recognize Shepody NWA’s wetlands, and adjacent mudflats, because they support large numbers of migratory birds every year. Mud shrimp living in the red mud of Shepody, and a biofilm of algae that grows on the mud surface, are the main food source for millions of migrating shorebirds in the fall, on the way to Central and South America. This primarily includes semipalmated sandpipers.
Hundreds of year ago, the Germantown Marsh and New Horton units contained many lakes, bogs and salt marshes. Then, in the 18th century, Acadian settlers installed dikes to hold back tidal waters. The settlers converted wetlands into farmland. More recently, upon becoming part of the NWA network, some of these freshwater marshes have been restored through work completed in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada.
The Mary's Point unit is located on the coast where Shepody and Chignecto Bay converge. It is comprised of a large salt marsh and a forested peninsula that extends out into Shepody Bay. The unit’s coasts are made up of sand and gravel beaches, sand dunes, rocky cliffs, and inter-tidal ledges. These coasts provide areas to rest for migrating shorebirds. The rich mudflats next to Mary’s Point support marine algae and invertebrates that are critically important to shorebirds to fuel their southern migration.
Mary's Point has a long human history. Mi’kmaq People used its habitats for millennia, who would have found rich natural resources here to sustain their communities. In the mid to late 19th century, a small community was present at the tip. This community supported a sandstone quarry. Products of the quarry can be seen today in historic buildings in Halifax and New York City.
The wetlands of Shepody NWA provide important wildlife habitat. These saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands provide production, staging, and migration habitats for waterfowl including:
The freshwater wetlands further provide some of the best nesting habitat in the Atlantic provinces for a variety of marsh birds including:
The inter-tidal mud flats and gravel beaches provide migration habitat for shorebirds. These shorebirds include:
The dominant species of shorebird is the semipalmated sandpiper. Thousands roost on the beach at Mary's Point during peak migration.
The NWA further provides habitat for many mammal species found including:
Find more information on Shepody NWA in the summary table below.
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.
More information on access and permitting for Shepody NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Planning your visit
Shepody NWA is a wonderful place for hiking, wildlife observation, and photography. This is especially the case in the spring and fall when huge numbers of shorebirds pass through the NWA.
Shepody NWA is part of the Connecting Canadians to Nature (CCN) initiative. CCN will help Canadians to enjoy and connect with nature. CCN funding will improve visitor services. For example, on June 17, 2019, a new Shorebird Discovery Centre opened in the NWA, at 415 Mary’s Point Road. The centre provides interpretation programming for children and adults from late June to August. The centre features work from local wildlife artists.
- washrooms at Mary’s Point
- Shorebird Discovery Centre at Mary’s Point
Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Shepody NWA, include:
- Wildlife viewing
- Participating in a group meal or group event involving15 or more people in the interpretation centre picnic area
- Operating a vehicle, other than a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle, on designated roads and in designated parking areas
- Non-commercial picking of edible plants and edible mushrooms
- Boat launching and boat landing
- Motorized boating with a motor of less than 10 horsepower
- Non-motorized boating
- Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating
- Sport hunting — including with dogs off-leash when hunting waterfowl or upland game birds — except at the Daley Creek Marsh or the public access areas of Mary’s Point Unit, if the hunting is carried out:
- (a) in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of New Brunswick for sport hunting in that province, during the periods authorized by those laws; and
- (b) without the use of toxic shot
- Sport fishing, in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of New Brunswick for sport fishing in that province, during the periods authorized by those laws
- Trapping in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of New Brunswick for trapping in that province
- Activities referred to in items 1 to 10 and 13 from sunset to sunrise, in addition to during the period referred to in subsection 3.1(3)
For more information on what is permitted in NWAs, consult the NWA management and activities page.
Directions from Moncton: Shepody NWA is located approximately 60 km from Moncton, on the way to Fundy National Park on Highway 114.
- Germantown Unit Main Gate: 45.712035, -64.756096
- Shepody Shorebird Discovery Centre: 45.727666, -64.672663
- New Horton Unit: 45.690717, -64.708592
Map of the area
This map shows the area southwest of Shepody Bay in New Brunswick. The three Shepody NWA units (Germantown Marsh, Mary’s Point, and New Horton) are indicated. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. An inset shows the NWA’s location in Canada.
This map is for illustrative purposes only. It should not be used to define legal boundaries.
|Protected Area designation||NWA|
|Latitude/Longitude||45°44' North, 64°45' West|
|Reason for creation of protected area||
|Date created (Gazetted)||1980 – Legal description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||Habitat/Species Management Area – (IV)|
|Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)|
|Main habitat type||
|Main threats and challenges||
|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 Shepody NWA, include:
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.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Atlantic Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Unit
17 Waterfowl Lane
P.O. Box 6227
Sackville, New Brunswick
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
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