The creation of a new protected area is a complex process and the Government of Canada, L’nuey, and Government of Prince Edward Island will take the necessary time to ensure that all parties are engaged and that the appropriate consideration is given at each stage. As the characteristics and considerations of each proposal for a new national park or national park reserve are unique, there is no specific timeframe.

2006 to 2007
Prompted by long history and cultural traditions of the area, the First Nations, through the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, arranged for an archaeological survey to be conducted in the Pituamkek area (Hog Island and Sandhills). With support from the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now known as the Canadian Museum of History), the survey recorded several important archaeological sites, which have since been the subject of detailed archaeological work done in partnership between the government of PEI and the PEI First Nations. The findings of this work have painted an increasingly detailed picture of the lives of the Mi’kmaq of millennia past in the Pituamkek area.
2008
The Government of Prince Edward Island and the First Nations first contacted the Minister of the Environment to make the case that, according to Parks Canada criteria, the Pituamkek area is of national significance and merits consideration for protected status.
2009
A tripartite group made of representatives from the federal, provincial and Mi’kmaq governments began a dialogue to find mutually acceptable ways to protect the Pituamkek area. Around this time, the Nature Conservancy of Canada began to acquire land for conservation purposes on Cascumpec and Conway islands.
2010 to 2018
During this time, important foundation work was continued by the Mi’kmaq First Nations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Island Nature Trust, and Parks Canada.
2019 to 2020
A feasibility assessment was launched in August 2019 to determine if, and under what conditions, a national park reserve could be established in Pituamkek of Prince Edward Island. The public consultation process was scheduled to begin in early 2020, but has been delayed by emergency orders surrounding the novel coronavirus. L’nuey, the Epekwitk Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative, was launched by the First Nations in September 2019 and was mandated to lead discussions and negotiations related to the feasibility study on behalf of the First Nations.
2020 to 2021
Between June 4, 2021 and July 23, 2021, Parks Canada and L’nuey, representing the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, invited partners, stakeholders and the public to provide their input on key aspects for consideration in establishing a national park reserve in northwestern Prince Edward Island through a series of public engagement opportunities.

A third-party consultation company was hired in July 2021 to assess and report the findings of the public engagement and input phase. The report demonstrated almost unanimous support for the proposed creation of a national park reserve in the Pituamkek area (Public engagement survey and consultation summary).
2022
On January 19, 2022, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, along with Chief Darlene Bernard and Chief Junior Gould, co-chairs of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formally work towards the establishment of a new national park reserve in the Pituamkek area (Hog Island Sandhills) in Prince Edward Island.

Next steps

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines next steps and provides a framework for collaboration as negotiations begin for an establishment agreement for the creation of the new national park reserve. Working together, the Government of Canada and the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq are taking action to protect this iconic natural and cultural landscape for future generations.



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