With QC staff on site, Little Bluff set to open Saturday

Beach goers at Little Bluff Conservation area in 2019. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)




Staffing that will conduct regular maintenance, a cap on visitors and an electronic gate are mitigation strategies developed by Quinte Conservation  due to be in place tomorrow morning when Little Bluff Conservation area reopens to the public.

In an announcement made Thursday afternoon, Quinte Conservation said the almost year-long closure has allowed  staff to prioritize the area and complete a number of projects that will enhance visitor experience and safety while protecting the sensitive lands within the conservation area.

Despite being closed to the public, motorists commonly parked alongside County Rd. 13 at the entrance to Little Bluff Conservation Area last year. (Facebook screen grab)

The Conservation authority closed Little Bluff last summer due illegal overnight camping and uncontrolled usage that led to issues with littering. The area became a de-facto overflow beach area when more popular destinations such as Sandbanks and Rotary Beach were closed due to capacity during Prince Edward County’s tourism crush of 2020.

Summer staff have been hired to be onsite seven days a week to assist visitors with questions and concerns, as well as to perform regular maintenance and provide educational information about the area and its environmental significance.

New seasonal amenities include washroom and handwashing facilities which will be maintained to current COVID-19 health and safety standards, as well as onsite garbage pick-up. Guests are still asked to practice leave no trace principles, but if they have items to dispose of, that they be placed in the appropriate bins.

A safety fence has been installed along the bluff to protect visitors and deter them from climbing over the barricade onto the unstable and eroded edge. The trail to the cobblestone barrier beach has been graded to make it easier for visitors to take the steep path to and from the water.

The area now has a 30 car capacity and the parking fee has been increased to $15 per vehicle. Guests are reminded that parking roadside is not permitted. Parking fees can be paid through Pay by Phone or to the summer staff on site. An electric gate will soon be installed and will replace the Pay by Phone parking system.

Little Bluff Conservation Area is the first of Quinte Conservation’s properties to undergo capital improvement projects. Guests to Quinte Conservation’s areas are reminded that parking fees support these areas through trail maintenance, replacement of structures, and area improvements to better the experience for visitors and to ensure these natural spaces can stay open and safe for the public.

This area will be temporarily removed from Quinte Conservation’s annual parking pass as well as from local library passes. Little Bluff’s parking fee will return to $5 per day per vehicle during the off season, at which time annual passes will be reinstated for this area.

“Quinte Conservation’s areas have always been, and will continue to be, spaces for the conservation of the natural environment and a place for people to connect with nature. These spaces are homes to wildlife, unique and rare ecosystems, and site-specific native plant and animal communities. The increased parking rate is a way to control area usage and offer a quieter experience for visitors to spend time in nature,” said Jesse Platt, Field Operations Manager.”

Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency. It serves 18 municipalities in the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers and Prince Edward County. It provides cost-effective environmental expertise and leadership. Quinte Conservation’s main goal is to create a sustainable ecosystem where people and nature live in harmony. More information about Quinte Conservation is available at www.quinteconservation.ca.