Wainfleet Wetlands

Notice

THIS CONSERVATION AREA IS NOW OPEN FOR PASSIVE USE ONLY SUCH AS HIKING & BIRDWATCHING. NO FACILITIES SUCH AS WASHROOMS ARE AVAILABLE. SWIMMING, BONFIRES AND ALCOHOL USE ARE STRICTLY PROHIBITED. MAIN NPCA OFFICE BUILDING REMAINS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

905-788-3135

10638 Quarry Road, Wainfleet, ON

info@npca.ca

Year round, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Parking
Weddings
Picnic
Sailing
Fire
Boating
Water Skiing
Canoeing
Fishing
Geocaching
Camping
Forest
Hiking
Birding
Swimming
BBQ
RV
Cabin
Beach
Volleyball
Playground
Hunting
Winter
Splashpad
Ziplining
Wakeboarding
Paddleboarding
Washroom

Once covered by a shallow, warm sea 300-450 million years ago, what is now the Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area was the site of a clay and limestone quarry from the late 19th century until the 1960s. Fossils of the plants and animals that lived in the Paleozoic sea can be seen in the exposed limestone of the Onondaga Formation, in the quarry walls and on rock tableland.

Purchased by the NPCA in 1978, today the quarries and clay pits have naturalized and are home for fish, birds, waterfowl, turtles, snakes and plants. Unique alvar communities of rock-loving plants also thrive in the shallow soils.

This Conservation Area is a natural area and helps fulfill the NPCA’s objective to further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources, as it is managed to provide habitat for fish and wildlife and to preserve the geological significance of the site, while providing passive recreational and educational opportunities.

The site contains the best exposed fossil and viewing area of geological formation and fossils (ancient marine lifeforms) in the Niagara Peninsula, highlighting species that lived 380- 450 million years ago in the shallow warm saltwater sea of the Michigan Basin that covered the site. Tilobites, crinoids shellfish and corrals can be seen.

This important property is home to a variety of unique and significant habitats including: alvars, prairie, cliffs, provincially significant wetlands, upland forest, low shrub areas and open water and streams. It contains terrestrial and aquatic habitat, supporting waterfowl staging areas, and is home to a number of birds (passerine, raptors waterfowl), mammals, fish, turtles, snakes, frogs, toads, and salamanders. 

This wetland is unique as it attracts a large variety of bird species, with over 50 different confirmed sightings. Yellow Warblers are the most common, and wading and shorebirds are plentiful as are Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Gulls, Terns, and Sandpipers. Guests may also encounter Bald Eagles, Northern Pintails, Northern Shoveleers, Mallards, and more. 

Wainfleet Wetlands is a Bronze Plaque Award winner for quarry rehabilitation work with the Management of Abandoned Aggregate Properties Program, awarded for efforts to increase wetland development and habitat cover for improved diversity and function in the landscape.

Important Wainfleet Wetlands CA rules include:

  • Conservation area may only be accessed during posted operating seasons and hours
  • Wainfleet Wetlands, also known as 'The Quarry' is accessible year round for passive recreation such as walking, birdwatching and nature photography
  • This property is not designated for active recreation such as swimming, camping or bonfires 
  • Conservation areas may only be accessed by designated entrance points, do not trespass private property to obtain access 
  • Dogs must be on a leash at all times 
  • Pets are not permitted to enter waters designated for swimming, or access beach areas

The following is strictly prohibited: 

  • Littering
  • Destruction, damage or removal of plants, wildlife or rocks
  • Abuse, insults or threats to staff and other visitors 
  • Excessive noise or disturbance 
  • Hunting, horseback riding and off-road vehicles
  • Camping, wading, bathing and swimming is prohibited
  • Use of boats
  • Fires and campfires