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Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Rock Glen Conservation Area

Map to Rock Glen Conservation Area, Arkona
Map to Rock Glen Conservation Area, Arkona
Rock Glen Conservation Area
8680 Rock Glen Road
Arkona, Ontario, Canada

43° 5’ 3” N • 81° 49’ 67” W
43° 5’ 3.249”, -81° 49’ 17.205”

Click this link for Google Map of Rock Glen Conservation Area location.

For map of Rock Glen Conservation Area, download Guide with Map of Rock Glen Conservation Area.

Phone gatehouse at 519-828-3071 or phone Ausable Bayfield Conservation office toll-free at 1-888-286-2610 for information.

The admission fee (subject to change) is only $4 per person, $3 per student for school groups, and that includes admission to the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre.

Driving Directions: From Sarnia or London take Exit #44 off the 402 to Arkona on County Rd #79. Park is located on Rock Glen Road, 2 km outside of Arkona.

Hours of operation: During daylight hours, the park is open for walking trails and visiting waterfalls year-round, weather permitting.

Museum Hours

The museum is open to the public daily in July and August from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The museum is open to the public in May, June, September, and October, on weekends only, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

(During May, June, September, and October the museum is open by appointment or chance during the week).

Operating season dates: May 1, 2017 to October 21, 2017 

Location

Located on the outskirts of Arkona, Rock Glen Conservation Area is a unique island of nature within the Ausable Bayfield watershed jurisdiction. Whether taking a hike along the Ausable Gorge or within Rock Glen's important Carolinian forest, you'll see many trees, plants and wildlife that are provincially distinct to this area.

Museum

The park is home to the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre which houses an impressive collection of Devonian Era fossils and artifacts found in the local area. There are stairs, boardwalks and bridge allowing visitors to safely explore the steep sides of the glen and the 10.7-metre high waterfall just upstream of the Ausable River. Visitors and amateur archaelogists from all parts of North America have found many fossils in the exposed beds dating back 350 million years. Scientific names for these ancient treasures include crinoids, brachiopods and trilobites.

The story of civilization around Rock Glen dates back to the time when the Paleo or Early First Nations peoples utilized the nearby hills to hunt the barren ground caribou some 10,000 years ago. Succeeding the Paleo age were the Archaic First Nations who had adapted to a much milder climate some 6,000 years ago. The museum displays "fluted points" associated with the Paleo age and many "cache" blades from the Archaic aboriginal peoples.

Accessible trails allow all visitors to see the park highlights including the scenic lookouts, museum and picnic areas.

This is a growing destination for weddings. 

Notes

  • An extensive collection of fossils and indigenous artifacts can be viewed in the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre.
  • Numerous trails and board walks for exploring nature in this Carolinian forest. The Lookout, washrooms, museum and some trails are wheel-chair accessible.
  • The scenic Rock Glen Falls can be viewed from the Lookout or go exploring for fossils at the bottom of the falls in the Rock Glen Gorge.
  • Two picnic pavilions can be reserved for groups or family reunions or weddings. 
  • Guided Hikes and Education

For information about booking an Education Program by an Ausable Bayfield Conservation staff member at Rock Glen, please see the Education page.

If you have any questions about fossils or donations of fossils to the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre you can contact Bob O'Donnell, museum steward, at 519-690-0930 or email bob-carla(at)rogers.com.

Are Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) conservation areas free in 2017?

There is free admission, each year, to all of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) conservation areas except Rock Glen Conservation Area (RGCA) near Arkona. There is a gate fee for Rock Glen CA, which includes famous Rock Glen Falls and the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre.

Please visit the Rock Glen Conservation Area page on this website for information on the price of admission at the gate and for hours: Rock Glen Conservation Area

May I use the Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass at Rock Glen Conservation Area?

No ... sorry. Only Parks Canada national parks are offering free day-use admission this year to people who have pre-ordered their Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass. The Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass is accepted at National Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites but it is not accepted at locally-run, locally-funded conservation areas.

Aren’t all parks in Canada considered ‘national’ parks?

We are very proud of Rock Glen CA and our other local conservation areas but they are not considered national parks. Our conservation areas in Ausable Bayfield watersheds are different than the Parks Canada parks.

How can I tell which is a national park and which is a local conservation area?

If you are visiting a national park operated by Parks Canada you should be able to find their logo at the entrance.

The name Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) can be found at our conservation area entrances and often our logo.

How many national parks are there in Ausable Bayfield watersheds?

None. There are five Parks Canada national parks in Ontario. They are:

  • Bruce Peninsula National Park
  • Georgian Bay Islands National Park
  • Point Pelee National Park
  • Pukaskwa National Park
  • Thousand Islands National Park

For information on the Parks Canada pass visit this page of the Government of Canada website at this link: Discovery Pass

We’re sure that you’ll have an incredible time exploring Canada’s national park system by having pre-ordered the Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. However, Rock Glen Conservation Area is locally maintained, locally funded, and is not designed as a national park so the national park pass cannot be used. We thank you for your understanding.

Are there local conservation areas I can visit at no charge?

Rock Glen Conservation Area (RGCA) near Arkona is Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority's only conservation area where there is a fee to enter. If you are searching for free park opportunities in addition to the Canada 150 pass we invite you to visit our free-admission conservation areas including Bannockburn, Clinton, Ausable River Cut, Morrison Dam, Zurich, and Parkhill. To find out more visit the Conservation Areas page at this link: Conservation Areas

Does Ausable Bayfield Conservation offer a Season’s Day Use Permit to Rock Glen Conservation Area?

Please visit the Rock Glen Conservation Area page on this website for information on season’s permits. You are also invited to contact the ABCA office directly by phoning 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. The ABCA office is located, 2 km east of Exeter, at 71108 Morrison Line.

Why isn’t there free admission to Rock Glen Conservation Area this year?

The cost of maintaining the world-renowned local conservation area at Rock Glen is entirely supported by gate receipts from admissions at the site and, as necessary, local dollars through municipal levies. None of the funding, from year to year, is from federal or provincial sources. 

Gate fees are vital in order to maintain this important ecological and nature appreciation area.

Federal parks operated by Parks Canada, and even Ontario Parks operated by the provincial government, receive tax dollars to provide the access and services they do to visitors. Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority receives no annual federal or provincial tax dollars towards conservation areas. ABCA operates its conservation areas with funds received through gate access fees, donations, pay-for-use, and some municipal levies. The revenue we receive keeps our conservation areas open and operating each season for your enjoyment and for the maintenance of these important natural habitat areas.

Enjoy your nature appreciation options

Millions of Canadians have received their 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass already. This opportunity will encourage many Canadians to get back to nature and explore the many natural wonders beyond their own backyard this year. Although the pass cannot be used at Rock Glen Conservation Area we still encourage you to visit this site near Arkona (it’s worth the price of admission!) or to consider our several free-admission conservation areas in our watersheds.

Whatever nature appreciation choices you make on this special Canada 150 year, we thank you for choosing to be active and to explore the great nature areas this amazing country has to offer. Enjoy your journey!