Common menu bar links

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area of Canada

Lake Superior Marine News | Volume 1 | Issue 1

Link to PDF Version (2.1 Mb)

Welcome to the first edition of Lake Superior Marine News! This newsletter provides an update on the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, the planning that has been underway for the past two years and the upcoming public consultation process.

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area © Lois Nuttall 
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area
© Lois Nuttall

The Lake Superior Marine Conservation Area is part of a nation-wide family of protected areas managed by Parks Canada. Join us in 2010 as Canada celebrates 125 years of natural heritage conservation; and in 2011 when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the world’s first national park service! 

Who is involved with the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area?

Parks Canada manages the marine conservation area in collaboration with others, including the Province of Ontario, First Nations, north shore communities and stakeholders. For the past two years, we have been working very closely with an interim management advisory board on the development of a draft interim management plan. This board includes representatives from Dorion; Red Rock; Nipigon; Rossport; Schreiber; Terrace Bay; Pays Plat First Nation; Red Rock Indian Band; Fort William First Nation; the Northern Superior First Nations; Lakehead University; the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists; the Thunder Bay Yacht Club; the Silver Islet Campers’ Association; the Superior North Power & Sail Squadron; the Western Lake Superior Commercial Fishermen’s Association; remote property owners and members at large.

We are setting up an administration office in Nipigon and have hired three staff including the site manager.

Open House Consultations

 Everyone is invited to open houses to discuss the development of an interim management plan for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. Contribute to the vision, themes and zoning of the area, and recommend opportunities for collaboration.

Dates and Locations

Terrace Bay Curling Club Monday, May 31
1010A Highway #17 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Rossport Community Hall Tuesday, June 1
200 McKay Street 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Nipigon Community Centre Wednesday, June 2
138 Wadsworth Drive 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Thunder Bay Travelodge Hotel Airlane Thursday, June 3
698 West Arthur Street 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

For more information on the open houses call 807-346-2901.

What is a national marine conservation area?

National marine conservation areas are established to conserve and protect representative examples of Canada’s oceans and Great Lakes. Each marine conservation area contributes to our understanding and appreciation of Canada’s natural and cultural marine heritage. They also:

  • Contribute to the social, cultural and economic well-being of people living in coastal communities. 

  • Provide opportunities for the ecologically sustainable use of aquatic resources for the long-term benefit of coastal communities. 

  • Involve other federal and provincial agencies, aboriginal governments, communities and others in establishing and maintaining the areas.

Hunting and fishing can continue in marine conservation areas. For Lake Superior, the Ministry of Natural Resources will continue to manage those activities. Also, Transport Canada will continue to manage marine transportation.

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area of Canada, at more than 10,000 square kilometres, is the largest freshwater protected area in the world. Its boundaries extend from Thunder Cape at the tip of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in the west, to Bottle Point just east of Terrace Bay, and south to the Canada-United States border.

(click here for more information)

What’s happening?

Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announcement of the creation of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area in October 2007, Parks Canada has been working behind the scenes to make the site operational. This includes taking steps to fulfill commitments in existing agreements with the Province of Ontario and First Nations. And as mentioned, for the past two years we’ve been developing an interim management plan.

The next step is to consult with our partners and the public before completing the plan.

What is an interim management plan?

An interim management plan is a strategic guide for the first five years of operation of a national marine conservation area. It provides the foundation for a more detailed management plan which must be developed within five years after the marine conservation area is formally established.

Interim management plans also:

  • Are a requirement under the legislation governing marine conservation areas (the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act);
  • Must include management objectives;
  • Must include a zoning plan with at least two types of zones.

Parks Canada chose this portion of the world’s largest freshwater lake because it showcases Lake Superior’s many real and inspiring features to be explored, protected and conserved. The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area tells its own story through its many rich cultural, historical and natural characteristics, including First Nations history; unique geological features; dozens of shipwrecks; more than 70 species of fish along with critical spawning areas; shorebird and waterfowl staging areas; arctic and subalpine plants; and many breathtaking seascapes and landscapes.

(click here for more information)

What is zoning?

Zoning is a tool that helps us manage marine protected areas. Zones define different levels of protection for ecosystems, habitats and their biological communities, while fostering ecologically sustainable use. National marine conservation areas try to balance protection and use in a way that promotes people’s continued enjoyment of the area without exceeding the ecosystem’s ability to sustain itself.

Zoning is a process that defines specific areas and the activities that may take place within those areas. Consultation with partners, users and local communities is essential for the development of a zoning plan. Decisions about zoning take into account ecological, cultural, social and economic considerations and information from a variety of sources, including traditional knowledge. Under the marine legislation, we are required to have at least two types of zones: those that fully protect, and those for ecologically sustainable use.

The interim management plan for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area will include a preliminary approach to zoning. A more detailed zoning plan will be developed as part of the more comprehensive management planning process.

(click here for more information)

Management Themes

Parks Canada, in collaboration with the advisory board, has drafted six management themes to help guide the initial operation of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. The themes build on Parks Canada’s mandate of protection, education and enjoyment and strategies are being developed to put these themes into action.

Theme 1: Maintaining meaningful community relationships
As partners, we have a real, relevant and meaningful community relationship built upon transparency, accountability and trust.

Theme 2: Building a National Marine Conservation Area community
With coastal communities and First Nations as a foundation for the future, public outreach education will enhance awareness of, and appreciation for, the value of Lake Superior’s wild shores.

Theme 3: Showcasing the National Marine Conservation Area
We will showcase the largest freshwater protected area on the planet to the world by focusing on public outreach education programs and on-site opportunities.

Theme 4: Facilitating the Lake Superior experience
We wish everyone the opportunity to experience the natural beauty, majesty and serenity of Lake Superior and to gain an appreciation of the magnitude, power and fury of this seemingly endless freshwater sea.

Theme 5: Honouring the past
We will honour both the natural and human history of the area by involving and celebrating the people and communities of the present.

Theme 6: Protecting and conserving
We value Lake Superior’s remoteness and relatively pristine character and recognize the significant natural and cultural components that make it unique.

These themes will be refined based on public input.

(click here for more information)

Community Partnering

Parks Canada uses partnering to help promote its mandate and to expand the opportunities offered to Canadians and visitors. We wish to engage stakeholders, partners, First Nations and Métis in the protection and presentation of Parks Canada's special places. Partnerships must benefit Parks Canada, the partners involved, and Canadians.

A number of interpretive themes and preliminary suggestions for possible partnering opportunities have been developed for the Lake Superior marine area. Parks Canada and the board would also like input from the public.

(click here for more information)

What happens next?

Before the marine area can be formally established, there are a number of technical and legal requirements that must be completed. Once the interim management plan is finalized, it will be sent to Parliament for review and approval—the final step.

After the marine area is established, a new management advisory committee will be set up to provide advice on the development and implementation of a management plan.

A Vision for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

To respect our natural and cultural heritage by balancing preservation and sustainable use by all, for present and future generations. It was envisioned:
  • That the wondrous natural features of the archipelago, the strength and beauty of its seascape, the diversity and uniqueness of its plant and animal life, and its wildness would be protected and maintained.

  • That the cultural and spiritual places of the First Nations people would be respected, and that traditional knowledge and aboriginal history would be incorporated into the management of the area. 

  • That the history of the area be told, and that its lighthouses, shipwrecks and other cultural sites be preserved. 

  • That current industrial use of the north shore not be impaired by the national marine conservation area, that commercial and sport fishing continue to be sustained and that private property rights be respected. 

  • That traditional uses would continue and that the national marine conservation area would provide the mechanism to manage the nature, location and impacts of future use of the area. 

  • That an extensive partnership would emerge to achieve conservation objectives and realize economic and tourism benefits for the area. 

  • That a meaningful and responsible role be given to local citizens to provide direction and recommend priorities for the area. 

  • That through personal and economic opportunities people would connect with what makes the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area meaningful in each of their lives, and that the spirit of the place would find itself in the hearts of all invoking a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada.

 We would like to know if this reflects your vision for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.


We’d like to hear from you!

To share your comments:
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area
Interim Management Plan Consultation
Parks Canada
214 Red River Road, Suite 301
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 1A6
Fax: (807) 345-9731
Call: (807) 346-2901

Note: To read the PDF version you need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.

If the Adobe download site is not accessible to you, you can download Acrobat Reader from an accessible page.

If you choose not to use Acrobat Reader you can have the PDF file converted to HTML or ASCII text by using one of the conversion services offered by Adobe.