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Sable Island protected forever as Canada’s 43rd national park

June 25, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced that the Bill to create Sable Island National Park Reserve of Canadareceived Royal Assent today, formally enshrining the fabled island in the Canada National Parks Act as Canada’s 43rdnational park.

“The long-term legal protection of Sable Island as a national park reserve is a tremendous achievement for all Canadians,” said Minister Kent. “We can now be assured that this fragile and iconic island will be protected forever, with its stories shared with all Canadians and passed on to future generations.”

The Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia jointly announced on January 25, 2010, that Sable Island would be protected under federal law, and on October 17, 2011, the governments signed a landmark agreement to protect Sable Island as a national park reserve.  Extensive consultation with Mi’kmaq, stakeholders and the public showed overwhelming support for the designation of Sable Island as a national park reserve, and on February 12, 2013, the federal government tabled legislation to legally protect Sable Island under the Canada National Parks Act, the country’s strongest environmental legislation. The Bill also establishes a 200 km² buffer zone around the island.

“Sable Island holds a special place in the hearts of Nova Scotians, and Canadians across the country,” said Nova Scotia Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker. “Designating Sable Island as a national park will guarantee a number of important protections and regulations; this will help ensure the beautiful, wild and picturesque island remains as it should for generations to come.”

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a robust and dedicated effort to give Sable Island the strongest protection under Canadian law, ensuring the wildlife, such as the island’s iconic wild horses, is safeguarded for the benefit of present and future generations,” added Minister Kent.

Located 300 kilometres off the coast of Nova Scotia and where many ships found their unfortunate end, Sable Island is an important part of Nova Scotia’s maritime heritage. It is a narrow, 42 kilometre long, crescent-shaped island located at the edge of the Continental Shelf southeast of Halifax. It is characterized by sand dunes and grasses and is home to over 190 plant species and 350 species of birds, including the endangered roseate tern. The island’s most famous inhabitants are its iconic wild horses, of which there are approximately 500.

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