Byng Island Conservation Area
Byng Island Conservation Area
By Grand River Conservation Authority
Byng Island Conservation Area offers campers, boaters and day-visitors a chance to explore both the Grand River and Lake Erie. The 190-hectare conservation area encompasses Carolinian forest, reforested farmland, and open space. Located on the lower stretch of this Canadian Heritage River, it has three boat launches into the Grand River.
The conservation area features one of Canada's biggest fish ladders, allowing lake fish to migrate past the Dunnville Dam to prime spawning and nursery habitats upstream. It also boasts one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in Ontario - a pool that accommodates more than 1,000 people and features a diving board that thrills the young and the young at heart.
Camp sites: Byng Island has approximately 380 campsites in four main campgrounds, each providing different features: forested, river front, serviced and access to Lake Erie. This includes 134 serviced sites (electricity and water) and 246 unserviced sites in a variety of locations. Some of the unserviced sites are considered premium due to their river front location and these are charged at a premium rate. Up to six people are permitted per campsite. Check-in is after 2 p.m. and check-out is before noon. Daily, monthly and seasonal rates are available.
Reserve a site: Sites can be booked online or by calling toll-free 1-877-558-GRCA (4722).
Group camping: Five group campsites can be booked directly through conservation area staff for supervised youth groups or large gatherings that exceed 10 camping units. These are available by reservation only.
Monthly & seasonal campers: Please call the conservation area directly for availability of one of these seasonal sites.
Firewood: Firewood can be purchased at the gatehouse which is open daily.
Alcohol: Alcohol is permitted on registered campsites, except for a total alcohol ban from the start of Victoria Day weekend until the third Sunday in June as well as Labour Day weekend.
Waste: Garbage containers and recycling bins (for cans, glass and plastics) are located throughout the conservation area. Two trailer sewage dumping stations are available.
Many people use Byng Island as an overnight destination while canoeing down the Grand River. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boats can be rented in the conservation area, and provide boaters of all ages with a chance to explore the river and the quiet waters of Sulphur Creek.
The conservation area provides excellent boating opportunities for power boating, waterskiing and personal watercraft. As well, Lake Erie is approximately seven km downstream from the park.
Sailing and windsurfing are popular activities at Byng Island Conservation Area.
The location of Byng Island allows anglers to go after both river and lake species. More than 20 species have been caught including walleye, pike, rainbow trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, three types of sucker, gizzard shad, white perch, white bass, Chinook and pink salmon, channel catfish, brown bullheads, black crappie, freshwater drum, longnose gar, bluegill, common carp and quillback.
A self-guided nature trail on the west side of the conservation area is about one kilometer in length.
Biking on park roads is very popular with our patrons. Please obey the rules of the road and wear appropriate helmets.
The two-acre pool (one of the largest in Ontario) has a large wading area and a spray pad for youngsters, as well as a deep area featuring a diving board. Lifeguards are on duty at all times when the pool is open. The pool is open between mid-June and Labour Day from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The pool is closed during inclement weather. A swimming pool entrance fee of $1 for those age 6 and up will be charged at the pool.
A life-jacket loaner program is available. Use of the life-jackets is free with a small, refundable deposit. Ask at the changerooms for information.
Approximately 400 picnic tables are scattered throughout the conservation area and there is parking for 500 cars. Garbage containers and recycling bins (for cans, glass and plastics) are located throughout the conservation area.
Join us in July and August for special family fun programs. From Pirate Day to water games to mini Olympics there are programs to keep you and your family busy while visiting Byng Island.
Byng Island, the provincially significant Dunnville Marshes,and the Lake Erie shoreline offer birders a chance to observe many different wetland-dependent birds, including migrating waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors.
A canoe trip south along the Grand from Byng Island will lead through the cattail marshes. These are inhabited by marsh species such as red-winged black bird, long-billed marsh wren, swamp sparrow, Virginia rail and common yellowthroat. Five swallow species (bank, barn, cliff, northern rough-winged and purple martin) may be found foraging on insects over the marshes. A good variety of gulls and terns may be found here as well. Notable species include bald eagle, least bittern and black tern.
Please take the time to report any rare or unusual species to the GRCA so that we can keep our bird check list up-to-date.
This is the location of the community bulletin board, one of our two pay telephones and the lost and found. It is the place to go to get further information about the conservation area and report any problems or concerns.
Byng Island has three areas available for group events such as corporate picnics, weddings and family reunions. These include the Pavilion with a full kitchen and washrooms nearby and two picnic areas.
The conservation area has washrooms with hot and cold running potable water and showers. Vault type toilets are also located throughout the conservation area.
The food and boat concessions operate from late June until Labour Day, weather permitting.
Sports and fun
The conservation area features a play area for children, two sand volleyball courts, a baseball field, and large open areas which can accommodate group games.
Two launches are on the river above the Dunnville Dam. A third boat launch, beside the Sulphur Creek Campground, allows access to Lake Erie and its abundant fishery, a short 7 kilometers downstream.
Pets are allowed in the conservation area, but not in the swimming area and they must be kept on a 2 meter leash and controlled at all times. "Stoop and Scoop" applies. There is a fine for not obeying these regulations. Please check the Ontario Dog Owner's Liability Act regarding pitbull restrictions.
Visitors to Byng Island can enjoy the many attractions of Haldimand County, including the Dunnville Market, the newly rebuilt Port Maitland pier at the mouth of the Grand River and the historic Ruthven mansion National Historic Site near Cayuga.
Less than one hour away you can take in the wonders of Niagara Falls. The Welland Canal has a working model display explaining the canal and how it works in nearby St. Catharines. The Royal Botanical Gardens is a short drive away. Native heritage is abundant with ceremonies and handicrafts located on the territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River.
Within a 10-minute drive of the conservation area you will find churches, grocery and hardware stores, laundry facilities, restaurants, golfing, miniature golf, fishing bait and tackle shops, fishing charters, department stores, liquor and beer stores, gas stations and garages.
Dunnville War Memorial Hospital is located at 206 John Street, Dunnville.
Conservation Area Admission As of Feb. 1, 2011
Over 14 years of age (excluding Brant and Rockwood) $5.25
Over 14 years of age (Brant) $6
Over 14 years of age (Rockwood) $5.50
Child aged 6 to 14 (excluding Brant but including Rockwood) $2.75
Child aged 6 to 14 (Brant) $3.50
Child aged 5 and under free
Buses (20 or more people) Discount $0.25/person
Pool admission (ages 6 and up, Byng Island only) $1
Personal (walk-in) Season Pass As of Feb. 1, 2011
Over 14 years of age $50
Child aged 6 to 14 $40
Vehicle Season Pass As of Feb. 1, 2011
1st vehicle $115
2nd vehicle $75
Camping & Facility Reservations As of Feb. 1, 2011
Reservation fee $13
Nightly Camping As of Feb. 1, 2011
Unserviced site $34
Serviced site / Byng Island Premium Riverfront $42
Additional vehicle fee (overnight) $12
Note: Rates are per unit per day with one vehicle.
Monthly Camping As of Feb. 1, 2011
Unserviced - per month $570
Serviced - per month $730
Serviced plus sewer (Brant) - per month $806
Seasonal Camping - April 30 - Oct. 17
(includes Vehicle Season's Pass)
Serviced - premium $2185
Unserviced - premium $1560