Sable Island to be Designated National Park
Department of Natural Resources
May 18, 2010 1:32 PM
Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell and Jim Prentice, Minister Responsible for Parks Canada, today, May 18, announced that the province and the government of Canada will take the necessary steps to designate Sable Island as a national park under the Canada National Parks Act.
"The national park designation gives Sable Island the highest level of protection of its natural and cultural features," said Mr. MacDonell. "The next step is to hear from Mi'kmaq and others as we work with the federal government on an agreement to conserve and manage the island for present and future generations."
"It is with pleasure that I announce the commitment by the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia to permanently protect Sable Island as a national park," said Mr. Prentice. "In this the International Year of Biodiversity, what better way to celebrate than by ensuring the long-lasting protection of Sable Island, its majestic horses and some of the rarest birds and wildlife in Canada by designating it a national park."
The ministers also announced that public consultations on the conservation, management and operational issues with the designation would begin soon. After consulting Mi'kmaq, the public, stakeholders and others, the governments will negotiate an establishment agreement to designate the area for protection under the Canada National Parks Act.
In January, the ministers signed a memorandum of understanding to create the Canada-Nova Scotia Sable Island Task Group to recommend whether Sable Island should be designated a national park or a national wildlife area. The task group consisting of representatives of Parks Canada, Environment Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, recommended a national park designation would bring a long-term conservation framework to Sable Island.
Sable Island supports some important wildlife populations including between 150 and 400 wild horses that were introduced shortly after 1738, numerous migrant birds and breeding birds including nesting colonial water birds including herring gulls, great black backed gulls, and common terns. It also supports the world's largest congregation of breeding grey seals, along with harbour seals. There are many species at risk, including virtually the world's entire population of the vulnerable Ispwich Savannah sparrow.
The island is 40 kilometres long, and is composed entirely of unconsolidated sand, stabilised primarily by vegetation cover and ocean currents. Its primary habitats are native grassland and mud/sand flats.
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the creation of Canada's first national park and the world's third protected area, as well as the International Year of Biodiversity, a celebration that brings greater attention to the importance of protecting biodiversity around the world. Today's announcement is a concrete example of the government of Canada's action to protect Canada's exceptional biodiversity for future generations.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
Sable Island will soon be recognized as a national park as
the province and the government of Canada prepare to take the
necessary steps to preserve and protect the area.
Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell and Jim Prentice,
Minister Responsible for Parks Canada announced today, (May 18th)
public consultations on the designation will begin soon.
Mr. MacDonell says the next step is to hear from Mi"kmaq and
others as the governments work on an agreement to conserve and
manage the island for present and future generations.
Media Contacts: Jacqueline Parker
Office of the Minister of Environment
National Corporate Communications Branch