Long Point is the world’s largest freshwater sand-spit. It holds a unique blend of long sandy beaches, grassy ridges, sand dunes, wet meadows, diverse Carolinian forests, marshes and ponds. In fact it is so diverse that it hosts more endangered species per-capita than the rest of Canada. Its long and colourful history and incredible beauty are just a couple reasons the locals have been trying to keep it a secret for years.
The Southern Norfolk Sand Plains that lie immediately to the north of Long Point are well-known for their rich agricultural lands, tall-grass prairie and oak savanna remnants, wetlands and forests. Farmers, woodlot owners and other rural property owners living here take great pride in practicing sound land stewardship and value the interaction they have with the biodiversity in this special part of Ontario.
Much of Long Point is designated federally as a National Wildlife Area. It is protected and human access is restricted to only a few locations that are accessible by boat.
If you stand at the tip of this 4000 year old wonder you will see breath taking views of Canada and the United States, rare birds, wildlife species, diverse plants and landscapes.
Over 390 bird species migrate through Long Point each spring and fall, as it is a major migratory stopover on the North Atlantic flyway. According to www.birdcanada.com Long Point is considered to be in the top ten best birding locations in Canada. Bird Studies Canada headquarters is located within the Long Point Biosphere Reserve in the Town of Port Rowan and Long Point Bird Observatory has three monitoring stations set up on Long Point: one at the tip, one mid-way at breakwater and one at the base near the Long Point Provincial Park.
Bird watching on Long Point is comparable to the well-known Point Pelee National Park, except without the crowds! To learn about our birding tour click here
Long Point is internationally recognized as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Biosphere Reserve. It was one of the first biosphere reserves to be named in Canada. It provides an excellent example of the Great Lakes coastal ecosystem and a unique blend of habitats.
UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program has over 600 World Biosphere Reserves world-wide, this puts Long Point in comparison to The Great Barrier Reef, the Galapagos Island’s, the Sahara Desert, Brazilian Rain Forest and many other special locations on earth. To learn more about the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve click here.
Throughout European settlement to present day the Great Lakes have been used for shipping supplies to Canada and the United States. During the mid to late 1800’s ship travel across the Great Lakes was at an all time high, and Lake Erie seemed to be attracting the most activity.
Before modern shipping routes and navigation devices, Long Point was a navigational landmark for ships traveling across Lake Erie. Ships would use the protection of the long sand spit and calm waters of the Inner Bay during storms to escape and quite often be driven onto it or founder in the violent seas that can occur here. Early steamers did not fare well with their limited steam ability of four to five knots in a gale. The constantly changing sand bars would often catch ships off guard and beach them only to cause them to capsize and disappear in Erie’s murky waters. Long Point Peninsula has claimed more ships than the Bermuda Triangle with more than 200 known ships shattered along the coast and inner bay and many others unaccounted for. It is for this reason that it has earned the name “The Long Point Triangle”.
Diving enthusiasts continue to flock to this great area and discover just
another adventure that Long Point has to offer.
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 3650 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: Great Blue Heron, 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. Learn more by clicking here