A distant sandbar, hidden beyond the horizon in the North Atlantic Ocean, stirs imagination. A home to wild horses, submerged shipwrecks, rare birds and basking grey seals, Sable Island National Park Reserve defines the word “remote.”
Located 290 kilometres southeast of Halifax, at the edge of the Continental Shelf, Sable Island is a 42-kilometre-long crescent of ever-shifting sand dunes surrounded by the vast Atlantic Ocean.
Rolling beaches rise from the sea to form some of Eastern Canada’s largest sand dunes. Precipitation-fed bodies of water sustain rare and resilient plant life, which, in turn, harbours insects found nowhere else on Earth. Wild horses wander through the mist and impart a near-mythical quality to this distant sandbar, as do the 350-plus shipwrecks scattered within its waters. Earth’s largest breeding colony of grey seals gathers in the thousands upon Sable’s shores, and the island is also the only known breeding location for the Ipswich sparrow as well as a migration stopover for hundreds of other avian species.
Sable Island excites the imagination, merging human history with natural wonders in a compelling and complex ecosystem.
What does a National Park Reserve designation mean?
A national park reserve designation is used where there are outstanding claims by Indigenous people regarding Aboriginal rights and title, and these claims have been accepted by Canada for negotiation. Once the claim is settled, the lands can be converted from national park reserve status to a national park. A national park reserve is operated and run in the same manner as a national park.
The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia have asserted Aboriginal rights and title to the Province of Nova Scotia, and Canada and Nova Scotia are negotiating this claim under the Made in Nova Scotia Process. Many iconic national parks in Canada are national park reserves including Gwaii Haanas, Nahanni, and Pacific Rim.