Niagara Parks Continues to Improve Sustainability Efforts at Dufferin Islands

May 22, 2024

Niagara Parks

  • Work well underway as part of ecological initiative to support conservation efforts and enhance visitor experiences at Dufferin Islands
  • Updates at the site include shoreline mitigation strategies, planting, traffic realignment, and the development of many key plans and assessments to support future work
  • Burning Springs Hill established as a one-way entrance into Dufferin Islands; all guests will now exit the site via the Niagara Parkway

Niagara Falls, ON – As part of its ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and the Dufferin Islands Visitor Experience and Ecological Enhancement Initiative, Niagara Parks is continuing to invest in the well-loved, natural urban park famously located just steps from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

Through the Niagara Parks Foundation, TD Bank Group committed $400,000 to launch this initiative that aims to strengthen the environmental sustainability of the site, while supporting meaningful nature experiences for guests of all ages and abilities. As park-use has steadily increased in recent years, considerable restoration efforts are needed to address various concerns, from trail realignment and accessibility to protection of sensitive areas, such as nesting sites and habitats of rare plant species from future threats, such as flooding, erosion, and invasive species.

The following areas of focus have been established for the project:

  • Habitat and Land Management
  • Restoration of Park Lands
  • Dam and Weir Infrastructure
  • Trail Infrastructure, Accessibility and Wayfinding
  • Education and Interpretation

Significant work that has been completed to date includes the implementation of shoreline erosion mitigation, the planting of over 7,500 native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, the development of restoration plans for identified areas, and the completion of various assessments and plans such as trails and accessibility assessments, restoration of three of the small islands and an Interpretive Plan.

As part of this work, updates have been made to traffic patterns, including establishing Burning Springs Hill as a one-way entrance into Dufferin Islands, which came into effect this spring. Moving forward, guests will only be able to enter Burning Springs Hill from Portage Road and all guests will exit the Islands via the Niagara Parkway. Previously, Niagara Parks reversed the direction of traffic throughout the Islands, establishing new entrance and exit points to increase the safety of motorists and pedestrians and support visitation during the Winter Festival of Lights, which brings high volumes of vehicles into Dufferin Islands.

These changes will help support the installation of new trail infrastructure, including a new designated perimeter trail throughout the Islands to create more hiking experiences and increase pedestrian accessibility and safety.

As work continues for this project, Niagara Parks would like to remind guests about the importance of responsible behavior towards wildlife, including waterfowl, at Dufferin Islands and across its properties. While feeding wildlife may seem like a kind gesture, it is crucial to understand the severe negative impacts it can have on the delicate ecosystem. This includes unusual or aggressive behavior, overcrowding, the transmission of disease, growth disorders, malnutrition, delayed or failed migration leading to winter death, an increase in rodents and other pests, and degradation of water quality and park lands.

Over time, this has become a significant issue and contributing factor to many of the ecological challenges the Dufferin Islands Visitor Experience and Ecological Enhancement Initiative is attempting to address.

For more information about environmental stewardship and conservation at Niagara Parks, visit niagaraparks.com/environment.

Media Assets are available here.

About Niagara Parks

Since its establishment in 1885, Niagara Parks has remained a self-financed agency of the Ontario Ministry of Sport. Tourism and Culture, entrusted to preserve and protect the land surrounding Niagara Falls and the Niagara River. Today, Niagara Parks boasts gardens, a horticulture school, recreation, golf courses, restaurants, heritage and historic sites, gift shops and, of course, Niagara Falls. In short, natural landscapes, history, family fun, hiking, culinary delights, attractions and adventure.

Niagara Parks

Niagara Parks

The Niagara Parks Commission is committed to a vision of Ontario’s Niagara Parks as one that Preserves a rich heritage, Conserves natural wonders, and Inspires people world-wide. Founded in 1885, The Niagara Parks Commission is an Operational Enterprise Agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Its mission is to protect the natural and cultural heritage along the Niagara River for the enjoyment of visitors while maintaining financial self-sufficiency.