Parks Canada and Sable Island Institute Working Together to Protect Sable Island

News release

March 1, 2019      Halifax, Nova Scotia     Parks Canada Agency

Sable Island National Park Reserve holds a special place in the hearts of Canadians and the Government of Canada is protecting this iconic place.

Parks Canada and the Sable Island Institute are working together to reinstate a beach monitoring program on Sable Island; increase educational and outreach programs; and further improve visitor experiences of the island’s environmental and cultural heritage.

This partnership will help increase our understanding of the origin, types, quantities, and complex issues surrounding marine debris on Sable Island’s shores. It will also provide a framework for the Sable Island Institute to develop educational and outreach programs to enable a broad range of people to learn about this national treasure.  Some of the ways to achieve this goal include a series of science and arts workshops and an educational outreach program for communities in rural areas of Nova Scotia.

In addition, the partnership will create opportunities for visitors to the park reserve to better understand the park’s unique ecosystems. Some of the educational visitor experiences include the development of guides to identify plants and wildlife found on Sable Island and creating opportunities for visitors to engage with members of the Sable Island Institute to learn about the island’s natural and cultural heritage.   


“The Government of Canada is taking important steps protect Sable Island National Park Reserve. That’s why, I’m excited that Parks Canada and the Sable Island Institute have formalized their on-going relationship through this partnership agreement. Zoe Lucas’ long-term dedication to Sable Island, along with the important work done by others at the Sable Island Institute, are great examples of the incredible passion Canadians have for this special place. This agreement will further support the Government of Canada’s commitment to safeguard the island for future generations.” 

Andy Fillmore,

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament for Halifax

“We are eager to begin this critical research in partnership with Parks Canada as this agreement allows the Institute to expand on programs in support of conservation and education. Together we will work towards the protection of Sable Island while contributing to the carefully managed visitation opportunities offered at Sable Island National Park Reserve.”

Zoe Lucas,

President, Sable Island Institute

Quick facts

  • Sable Island National Park Reserve is approximately 42 km long and 1.5 km wide at its widest point. Located 156 km from Nova Scotia and 290 km from Halifax, Sable Island is home to hundreds of wild horses, one of the largest breeding colonies of grey seals in the world and hundreds of bird and plant species. It also has one of the largest dune systems in eastern North America. 

  • Sable Island National Park Reserve was established in 2013 and was Canada’s 43rd national park at the time of establishment. 

  • In October, Minister McKenna launched Let’s Talk Sable Island! public consultations, where Canadians were invited to share their thoughts on the future of Sable Island; the results of this consultation will help guide management priorities for Sable Island National Park Reserve. A draft management plan is expected to be ready for feedback by the public by spring 2019.  

  • Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world. The system protects a vast network of natural and heritage places that include 46 national parks, 171 national historic sites, four national marine conservation areas, and one national urban park.

  • The Sable Island Institute, a multidisciplinary not-for-profit, works for the conservation and protection of Sable Island’s unique natural and cultural values through knowledge generation and education supported by research, citizen science, public outreach, and interpretive services, both on and off Sable Island.

  • This agreement expands on the collaborative relationship that Parks Canada and the Sable Island Institute have had since the park reserve’s establishment in 2013.

  • Some of educational and outreach programs include a series of science and arts workshops and an educational outreach program for communities in rural areas of Nova Scotia.

  • Earlier this month, the Government of Canada announced $3.4 million in funding to help protect and restore Sable Island National Park Reserve’s sensitive ecosystems. The funding will contribute to the removal of infrastructure associated with past uses, such as surplus buildings and various kinds of debris, and support the  design energy solutions to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels on the island, creating a more efficient and environmentally-sustainable base of operations at a remote and isolated place.

Associated links


Tony Loring
A/External Relations Manager
Mainland Nova Scotia Field Unit
Parks Canada

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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