This conservation area, designed around two interconnected abandoned clay and limestone quarry mine ponds, is now a thriving site for local wildlife and a recognized migratory bird staging area. Its small, sheltered water body is a great kayak launch for beginners and young families.
Our Recommended Trip
Put In / Take Out: Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area, 10638 Quarry Rd, Port Colborne, ON L3K 5V4
There is a large gravel parking lot with some Portapotties. Follow the rocky path down to the water, and launch your kayak right from the water's edge.
Trip Length: About an hour. This is not a large body of water, so it can be a pretty quick paddle. There are two lobes to this waterbody, which are divided by the Quarry Road Bridge. The day we were there, the passage under the Quarry Road bridge was closed and so we were only able to kayak on one side of the lake. We did a couple of laps, and spent some time looking at the birds and a family of mink we spied playing.
Cost: There were no admission or launch fees.
Degree of Difficulty: Beginner. This is a small and protected body of water.
Life jackets and all Transport Canada required safety gear are always a must. Sunscreen and sun hats are definitely recommended when you're on the water.
Family Friendly Exploration
Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority purchased this abandoned clay and limestone quarry site in 1978, and has rehabilitated it into a thriving ecosystem for birds and wildlife. According to the NPCA website, "the site contains the best exposed fossil and viewing area of geological formation and fossils (ancient marine lifeforms including crinoids, shellfish, and corrals) 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."
The Wetlands are apparently home to as many as 50 species of birds, but the conservation area was busy when we got there and we didn't see many on the side of the pond that we paddled. We aren't sure why there was a safety barrier and buoys up at the bridge under Quarry Road, as we have heard that you can usually paddle both lobes of the quarry ponds, but we weren't able to venture over to the other side when we visited.
We might have been disappointed if we had driven all the way to the pond to only be able to paddle one small half, but we were on the way to visit friends so we didn't mind the shorter paddle (and in fact had chosen this spot because it was a smaller paddle that wouldn't be a normal afternoon's worth of paddling!) We made the most of our visit by doing a couple of laps, and on the second lap, we spied a family of American Mink playing on the rocks and had a lot of fun watching them!
Wainfleet Wetlands on ConservationAreas.ca
No rentals available at this location.