Sable Island National Park Reserve

What's New

Evening light on south beach dunes Evening light on south beach dunes
© Parks Canada

Sable Island now Formally Protected under National Park Legislation

Ottawa, Ontario, December 1, 2013 -- The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Canada’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, announced today that the Expansion and Conservation of Canada’s National Parks Act has come into force and that the final step in Sable Island becoming a national park reserve is now complete.

“This final step legally brings Sable Island under Canada’s strongest legislation for the protection of natural areas - the Canada National Parks Act - and provides Parks Canada with full administrative and legal authority to manage Sable Island as a national park,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “This significant achievement was only possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of many Canadians.”

“Nova Scotians should feel very proud of this accomplishment,” said Minister Mackay. “Today we can officially celebrate that Sable Island National Park Reserve will be protected for future generations of Nova Scotians, and all Canadians, so that everyone may continue to nurture their special bond to this unique and iconic location. With the addition of Sable Island, our province now has three national parks.”

The governments of Canada and Nova Scotia both passed legislation to enact a legislative ban against industrial drilling from the surface of Sable Island and out to one nautical mile offshore, thereby creating a 200 square kilometre buffer zone around the national park reserve.

Located in the middle of the Atlantic where many ships came to their last port, Sable Island is an important part of Nova Scotia’s maritime heritage. It is a long, narrow, crescent-shaped island located at the edge of the Continental Shelf approximately 290 kilometres 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.


Bill to create national park reserve receives Royal Assent

Ottawa, Ontario, June 19, 2013 -- 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 Canada received Royal Assent today, formally enshrining the fabled island in the Canada National Parks Act as Canada’s 43rd national 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.

As Canada’s 43rd national park, Sable Island’s natural and cultural features will be protected for present and future generations.

Sable Island is an extremely isolated location, and access to it is determined by constraints of weather and geography. It is only accessible by private air charter or vessel. As has been the case in the past, visitors are required to register in advance and visits to Sable Island National Park Reserve are mostly day trips.



For information about access to Sable Island, please contact us.

Learn more about The establishment of Sable Island National Park Reserve