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Rondeau Provincial Park

Welcome to Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Rondeau Provincial Park has over 12 kms of sandy beach on the shores of Lake Erie, stretching the full length of the park. It is here that you will find three of the park’s most important inhabitants. The Five-lined Skink lives in and around the driftwood, sand dunes and dune grasses of the park and is Ontario’s only lizard. They have five black lines down their yellowish backs and the young have a bright blue tail that is hard to miss. You may find one scurrying around on one of the trails.

Hognose Snakes also live amongst the sand dunes. They blend in well with the abundant prairie grasses. These snakes derive their name from their unique looking upturned nose. Although harmless when threatened they will hiss and flare out their neck like a cobra, and if that doesn’t scare off intruders they will roll over and play dead! The Hognose is a very rare snake and is labeled as a “Species at Risk”, so please be cautious if you happen to come upon one of these little fellows.


The Fowler Toad is another very rare species of toad. Smaller in size then its cousin, the American Toad, the Fowler Toad tends to be lighter in colour with a white belly. They are nocturnal creatures, burying into the sand to escape the searing heat. In the evenings they pop up out of their sand den and make their way to the water to re-hydrate. In the fall the toads hop further up the beach and into a dune where they burrow down into the sand and hibernate for the winter.

Recently the park has been a studying ground for the Softshell Turtle. This species is currently listed as Threatened. Rondeau Provincial Park and Rondeau Bay are home to the largest remaining population of softshells in Ontario. In the spring of 2003 Park biologists began attaching radio transmitters to the turtles. These turtles will then be traced for the next three years. Already much has been learned about the habits of the softshell turtle, an elusive creature until only very recently.

Since the Hognose Snake, the Five-lined Skink and the rare Fowler Toad all make their homes in and amongst the sand dunes it is important not to remove any driftwood or any other natural debris from the beach. This is also why the Park does not rake and clean the beach.

If hiking is your reason for visiting the park you won’t be disappointed. There are a variety of trails to attract all outdoor enthusiasts. The 1.4 km Black Oak Trail is a pleasant stroll through a narrow strip of Pine-Oak Savannah. This is an excellent trail for bird watching especially in the spring and fall. The 7.2 km Marsh Trail is an excellent way of getting up close without actually getting your feet wet. A two-storey viewing tower will provide you with a bird’s eye view of the marsh. The 1.4 km Tulip Tree Trail provides boardwalks where you can leisurely stop and observe the wildlife. An interpretive trail guide is available in the Visitor Centre for guided tours.

 

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