Table of contents

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, 2017.

Cette publication est aussi disponible en français.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

  • Parks Canada
  • Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada management plan, 2017.

Issued also in French under the title:
Parc national du Canada de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, plan directeur, 2017.

Available also on the Internet

  • Catalogue No.: R64-470/2017E PDF: R64-470/2017E-PDF
  • ISBN 978-0-660-07269-2 PDF: 978-0-660-07268-5
  1. Prince Edward Island National Park (P.E.I.) -- Management.
  2. National parks and reserves -- Prince Edward Island--Management.
  3. National parks and reserves – Canada -- Management. I. Title.

For more information about the management plan or about Prince Edward Island National Park:

Mailing address:
Prince Edward Island National Park
2 Palmers Lane
Charlottetown, PE
Canada
C1A 5V8

Telephone:
902-672-6350


Front Cover Image Credits

top from left to right: Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site, Barrett and MacKay Photography, 2006; Piping Plover, Courtesy Nick Tardiff, 2015; Red Chairs, Cavendish, D Wilson, 2014

bottom: Greenwich Dunes Trail, S Desroches, 2012

Foreword

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas belong to all Canadians and offer truly Canadian experiences.  

These special places make up one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world.

The Government is committed to preserving our natural and cultural heritage, expanding the system of protected places and contributing to the recovery of species at risk. At the same time, we must continue to offer new and innovative visitor and outreach programs and activities so that more Canadians can experience Parks Canada places and learn about our environment, history and culture.

This new management plan for Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada supports this vision.

Management plans are developed through extensive consultation and input from various people and organizations, including Indigenous Peoples, local and regional residents, visitors and the dedicated team at Parks Canada.

National parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas are a priority for the Government of Canada. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this plan for their commitment and spirit of co-operation.

As the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, I applaud this collaborative effort and I am pleased to approve the Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada Management Plan.

Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Recommendations

Recommended and original signed by

Daniel Watson
Chief Executive Officer
Parks Canada

Karen Jans
Field Unit Superintendent
Prince Edward Island
Parks Canada

Executive Summary

Established in 1937, Prince Edward Island National Park represents the Maritime Plain Natural Region within the National Parks System. This region is characterized by an undulating landscape of low elevation, underlain by relatively soft sandstone, conglomerate, and shale. Sandy beaches, sandspits, barrier islands and shifting sand dunes are common along the coastal margins. River estuaries are often bordered by salt marshes. Native forest types found in this region are part of the Acadian Forest biome, and range from hardwood forests of sugar maple, yellow birch, and beech on rich uplands and slopes, to black spruce bogs on low, poorly drained flats, and white spruce stands in exposed coastal locations.

Prince Edward Island National Park is a major tourist attraction on Prince Edward Island with its warm water, sandy beaches, beautiful scenery, network of trails and popular campgrounds. The beaches in the national park are the premier tourist attraction and have been valued as recreational areas for more than 100 years. Hiking and cycling have increased in popularity with the development of an extensive network of trails. Visitation is variable depending on the weather, but on average the park hosts more than 475,000 person-visits annually.

Major heritage attractions within the national park include Green Gables Heritage Place, also part of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site of Canada which will have a separate management plan. Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site of Canada is also contained within the borders of the national park. This site was constructed in 1896 as a seaside summer home, and is now operated as an historic inn. Management objectives for Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site are included in this plan.

This management plan replaces the 2007 Management Plan for Prince Edward Island National Park and Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site, which provided management direction for many improvements to ecological integrity, visitor experience and external relations.  Since 2007, Prince Edward Island National Park has developed a comprehensive ecological monitoring program and completed restoration of disturbed sites. Visitor experience opportunities have been advanced with trail improvements, the development of a multi-use trail along the Gulf Shore Parkway, and upgraded campgrounds. Relationships with Mi’kmaw First Nations have improved along with enhanced presentation of Mi’kmaw heritage in the park. A 2015 State of the Park assessment identified these improvements along with a number of opportunities and challenges that were considered during the review and development of this plan. They include the need to focus on long term natural and cultural conservation gains; address aging infrastructure; continue to improve learning and visitor experience opportunities; and manage lands in a dynamic coastal environment.

Parks Canada’s many partners and stakeholders, including the Mi’kmaw First Nations in whose traditional territory the park is located, helped create this plan for Prince Edward Island National Park. The plan sets clear, strategic direction for the management and operation of Prince Edward Island National Park by articulating a vision, key strategies, objectives and targets. The plan builds on previous commitments and management plan objectives, furthering the achievements of the past 10 years. Parks Canada will report annually on progress toward achieving the plan objectives and will review the plan every ten years or sooner if required.

The four key strategies for the 10 year management plan period focus on the following:

Key strategy 1:

Achieving Results Together

Collaboration and communication are at the heart of this strategy. Building on a foundation of respect, Parks Canada encourages an on-going connection between the Mi’kmaq and the lands that make up the national park. The relationship between Parks Canada, Mi’kmaw First Nations, local communities and key stakeholders has a direct impact on the success of park management and the health of forest, wetland and freshwater ecosystems. Our collective understanding of the cultural resource values in the park is also an important element of this strategy. Through meaningful collaboration and mutual support, improved park stewardship and solutions for managing natural and cultural resources in a dynamic coastal environment can be achieved. 

Key strategy 2:

A Healthy Park to Enjoy and Appreciate

Canadians can take pride in knowing that Prince Edward Island National Park is comprised of healthy, functioning ecosystems and that partners, stakeholders and visitors will be involved in improving ecological integrity in the park. The health of coastal, wetland, freshwater, and forest ecosystems will be monitored during the course of this plan, and when appropriate, restoration and management actions will be undertaken to maintain and improve conditions. Climate change research and predictions will be integrated into natural and cultural resource management decisions. A strategy for the future management of Crown land will also be a key outcome that will inform park management decisions.

Key strategy 3:

The Beach and Beyond

Visitors will continue to enjoy excellent value during their trip to Prince Edward Island National Park. New investments in park facilities and trails, the renewal of learning opportunities, and incorporating new technologies are key components of this strategy. Understanding the interests and needs of current and future visitors will help in identifying new products that are engaging and relevant, and ensure a full suite of quality programs and services that satisfy visitor expectations. This strategy aims to engage visitors and new audiences by exploring ideas for outdoor recreation and innovative learning opportunities that will expand the connections to the park’s natural heritage over the next 10 years.

Key strategy 4:

People, the Sea and a Changing Landscape

Creating connections for visitors and Canadians to the natural and cultural environment will improve their understanding and appreciation of Prince Edward Island National Park. Sharing the stories of the people, the sea and the changing landscape will be integrated into all aspects of park management.

1.0 Introduction

Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and historic places in the world. The Agency’s mandate is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Future-oriented, strategic management of each national park, national marine conservation area, heritage canal and those national historic sites administered by Parks Canada supports the Agency’s vision:

“Canada’s treasured natural and historic places will be a living legacy, connecting hearts and minds to a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada”.

The Canada National Parks Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act require Parks Canada to prepare a management plan for each national park. The Prince Edward Island National Park Management Plan, once approved by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada and tabled in Parliament, ensures Parks Canada’s accountability to Canadians, outlining how the management team of this national park will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate.

Parks Canada’s many partners and stakeholders, including the Mi’kmaw First Nations in whose traditional territory the park is located, helped create this plan for Prince Edward Island National Park. The plan sets clear, strategic direction for the management and operation of Prince Edward Island National Park by articulating a vision, key strategies and objectives. The plan builds on previous commitments and management plan objectives, furthering the achievements of the past 10 years. Parks Canada will report annually on progress toward achieving the plan objectives and will review the plan every ten years or sooner if required.

This plan is not an end in itself. Parks Canada will maintain an open dialogue on the implementation of the management plan to ensure that it remains relevant and meaningful. The plan will serve as the focus for ongoing engagement on the management of Prince Edward Island National Park in years to come.

2.0 Significance of Prince Edward Island National Park

Established in 1937, Prince Edward Island National Park represents the Maritime Plain Natural Region within the National Parks System. This region is characterised by an undulating landscape of low elevation, underlain by relatively soft sandstone, conglomerate and shale. Sandy beaches, sandspits, barrier islands and shifting sand dunes are common along the coastal margins. River estuaries are often bordered by salt marshes. Native forest types found in this region are part of the Acadian Forest Region, and range from hardwood forests of sugar maple, yellow birch, and beech on rich uplands and slopes, to black spruce bogs on low, poorly drained flats, and white spruce stands in exposed coastal locations. Prince Edward Island National Park provides excellent representation of the geology and coastal features of this natural region, and also protects a variety of upland forested vegetation communities.

Landscapes protected in the park include: coastal beaches and dunes; sandstone headlands; salt-marshes; freshwater and brackish ponds; small streams; and, upland till habitats that support a range of vegetation types, including old agricultural fields in various stages of ecological succession. In the Greenwich area, there are special sand dune features – a parabolic sand dune system with associated GegenwälleFootnote 1. The ecosystems of the park support a variety of plant and animal species, including seven species at risk, four of which have recovery strategies as of the date of this plan. These include the piping plover and the Gulf of St. Lawrence aster, both listed under the federal Species at Risk Act. Prince Edward Island National Park provides a key protected area for these species.

Protecting and presenting Canada’s cultural heritage is also an important priority for Prince Edward Island National Park. In addition to Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site and Green Gables Heritage Place, the park protects a variety of cultural resources reflecting a long history of human use by First Nations, and by Acadian, French and British settlers. These include, but may not be limited to, the Simpson House in Cavendish, the Stanhope Pioneer Cemetery, archaeological sites on Robinsons Island, in Stanhope and in Greenwich, and cultural landscapes.

3.0 Planning Context

The park is a major tourist attraction in Prince Edward Island with its warm water, sandy beaches, beautiful scenery, network of trails and popular campgrounds. The beaches of Prince Edward Island National Park are the premier tourist attraction and have been valued as recreational areas for more than 100 years. Hiking and cycling have increased in popularity with the development of an extensive network of trails. Visitation is variable depending on the weather, but on average the park hosts more than 475,000 person-visitsFootnote 2 annually.

Major heritage attractions within the park include Green Gables Heritage Place, also part of L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site of Canada, which will have a separate management plan. Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site of Canada is also contained within the borders of the national park. This site was constructed in 1896 as a seaside summer home, and is now operated as an historic inn. Management objectives for Dalvay-by-the-Sea are included in this plan.

Prince Edward Island National Park is one of the smallest in Canada, encompassing an area of approximately 22.2 km2. An additional 13.3 km2 of federal Crown land adjacent to the park is also managed by Parks Canada. Parks Canada has acquired these lands over the past 40 years in order to buffer the park from adjacent development and to compensate for the loss of coastal lands that are eroding from natural causes. Many of these lands are currently rented to local farmers for agricultural purposes. The future use of Crown lands needs to be reviewed in order to inform park management decisions. The park extends along the north shore of Prince Edward Island for approximately 40 km between Cavendish and Blooming Point. In 1998, the park was expanded to include a portion of the Greenwich Peninsula located further east on St. Peters Bay in an area separated from the main part of the park.

A number of small communities are adjacent to the park: the Cavendish Resort Municipality and the town of North Rustico are located in the western sector; the North Shore Community (which includes Stanhope and Covehead) and the community of Grand Tracadie are located in the central region of the park; and, the village of St. Peters is located at the eastern end of the park near the Greenwich peninsula. These areas were all established primarily as farming and/or fishing communities but now have a growing focus on tourism. In particular, the Cavendish Resort Municipality has become well-known as the major tourism area on the north shore, while St. Peters is considered the gateway to tourism in eastern Prince Edward Island. Charlottetown, the capital city for the province with a population of about 64,487 in the greater region, is located about 30 to 45 minutes to the south. The dominant land uses in the surrounding region on the island are agriculture, tourism and forestry. Commercial fishing remains an important activity for many coastal communities, and aquaculture is a significant industry in the large coastal bays.

The Mi’kmaw First Nations depend strongly on the coast and marine resources, especially the fisheries. There are two Mi’kmaw First Nations on Prince Edward Island. The Lennox Island and the Abegweit Bands together have incorporated as the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island to work on their behalf and advance their common goals. Continuing to grow and improve relationships with Indigenous communities is a priority for Parks Canada. Joint initiatives and on-going collaboration between the Mi’kmaw First Nations, through the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, and Parks Canada point to an increasingly positive relationship that builds on mutual interests.

This management plan replaces the 2007 Management Plan for Prince Edward Island National Park and Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site, which provided management direction for many improvements to ecological integrity, visitor experience and external relations. Since 2007, Prince Edward Island National Park has developed a comprehensive ecological monitoring program and completed restoration of disturbed sites. Visitor experience opportunities have been advanced with trail improvements, the development of a multi-use trail along the Gulf Shore Parkway, and upgraded campgrounds. Relationships with Mi’kmaw First Nations have improved along with enhanced presentation of Mi’kmaw heritage in the park. A 2015 State of the Park assessment identified these improvements along with a number of opportunities and challenges that were considered during the review and development of this plan. They include the need to focus on long term natural and cultural conservation gains; address aging infrastructure; continue to improve learning and visitor experience opportunities; and manage lands in a dynamic coastal environment.

Many partners and stakeholders have expressed shared interests in future collaboration with Parks Canada. During the development of the management plan, input has been provided by: municipal governments and/or development corporations for communities neighbouring the park; academic institutions; provincial government departments; environmental groups; cultural organizations; provincial and regional tourism associations; recreational groups; and lease and license holders.

Map 1 Regional Setting

Regional Setting for Prince Edward Island National Park

4.0 Vision

The vision presented below expresses the future desired state of Prince Edward Island National Park in 15 years.

Prince Edward Island National Park serves as an enduring setting protecting healthy ecosystems where long sandy beaches are backed by pristine sand dunes dotted with freshwater ponds, and surrounded by regenerating Acadian forest stands.

Together with the Mi’kmaw First Nations, Island residents and stakeholders, Prince Edward Island National Park fosters a shared approach to the stewardship of natural and cultural resources for the benefit and enjoyment of all Canadians.

One of Canada’s premier beach destinations, the national park thrives with Canadian and international visitors who experience and enjoy the protected natural beauty, cultural heritage of the island and its people, and many outdoor recreation opportunities.

Visitors feel connected to the national park and the north shore of Prince Edward Island – the people, the sea and the dynamic landscape are etched into their memories, calling them back again and again.

5.0 Key Strategies

Four key strategies frame the management direction for Prince Edward Island National Park for the next 10 years. The strategies and corresponding objectives and targets focus on achieving the vision for the park through an integrated approach to park management. Unless otherwise specified, all targets are meant to be achieved within the 10 year period of the plan. Annual implementation updates will be provided to engage First Nations, partners, stakeholders and the general public.

Key strategy 1:

Achieving Results Together

Collaboration and communication are at the heart of this strategy. Building on a foundation of respect, Parks Canada encourages an on-going connection between the Mi’kmaq and the lands that make up the national park. The relationship between Parks Canada, Mi’kmaw First Nations, local communities and key stakeholders has a direct impact on the success of park management and the health of forest, wetland and freshwater ecosystems. Our collective understanding of the cultural resource values in the park is also an important element of this strategy. Through meaningful collaboration and mutual support, improved park stewardship and solutions for managing natural and cultural resources in a dynamic coastal environment can be achieved.  

Objective 1.1

The Mi’kmaw First Nations are actively involved in the management of the park in a cooperative and collaborative manner.

Targets:

  • Frequent and effective communication between First Nations / Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island and Parks Canada leadership assists in identifying and working toward the accomplishment of mutual goals and common interests, as per the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Constitutional obligations are honoured in relation to consultation on issues that may affect Mi’kmaw Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
  • Frequent, meaningful engagement with First Nations occurs on issues such as the presentation of Mi’kmaw history and culture, the Indigenous workforce, and others that shall be identified through on-going dialogue.

Objective 1.2

Parks Canada, the Mi’kmaw First Nations and stakeholders collectively understand and value cultural resources in Prince Edward Island National Park.

Targets:

  • An inventory of all known cultural resources - including buildings and engineering works, archaeological sites, objects and landscapes – is completed collaboratively with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island and stakeholders.
  • A cultural resource values statement for all known cultural resources – including buildings and engineering works, archaeological sites, objects and landscapes – is completed.
  • A monitoring, evaluation and management strategy for all known cultural resources that also considers land use and effects of coastal erosion, is established following the completion of a cultural resource values statement.
  • A pastoral, non-forested condition is maintained within the Greenwich cultural landscapeFootnote 3.
  • A strategy to address the cultural landscape values of scenic view planes in the Cavendish area is developed and implemented following the completion of the cultural resource values statement.

Objective 1.3

Effective stakeholder engagement ensures shared stewardship and builds a constituency for conservation.

Targets:

  • Parks Canada engages neighbouring communities at least once per year and provides regular communications updates.
  • Parks Canada collaborates with stakeholders in environmental and watershed planning initiatives to ensure opportunities for contributing to the stewardship of the national park.
  • The stakeholder engagement strategy is reviewed and updated annually to ensure that collaboration is facilitated and communication is effective.

Objective 1.4

Innovative approaches to address park management issues and goals are fostered through collaboration with partners, stakeholders and subject-matter experts.

Targets:

  • Collaborative research initiatives that contribute to park management priorities are in place with partners and stakeholders, including post-secondary institutions.
  • Where appropriate, the use of Mi’kmaw traditional knowledge in park management activities has been fully integrated.

Key strategy 2:

A Healthy Park to Enjoy and Appreciate

Canadians can take pride in knowing that Prince Edward Island National Park is comprised of healthy, functioning ecosystems and that partners, stakeholders and visitors will be involved in improving ecological integrity in the park. The health of coastal, wetland, freshwater and forest ecosystems will be monitored during the course of this plan, and when appropriate, restoration and management actions will be undertaken to maintain and improve conditions. Climate change research and predictions will be integrated into natural and cultural resource management decisions. A strategy for the future management of Crown land will also be a key outcome that will inform park management decisions.

Objective 2.1

The restoration of the Acadian forest is ongoing with representative elements being successfully introduced.

Targets:

  • The forest composition measure will continue to show an improved trend in the next State of Park assessment.
  • Recommendations from the Conservation and Restoration Forest Management Plan are implemented as opportunities arise.

Objective 2.2

The Multi-Species at Risk Action Plan for Prince Edward Island National Park is implemented.

Targets:

  • Monitoring and protection measures are implemented for any new species at risk added during the plan period.
  • Protection measures for species with recovery plans in the action plan are fully implemented.

Objective 2.3

Stewardship projects with partners, stakeholders and visitors result in improved dune integrity.

Targets:

  • Damage to dunes from visitor traffic has decreased (e.g., there are less trails through the dunes).
  • The dune integrity condition measure shows an increasing trend from 2012 levels.

Objective 2.4

Management direction for Crown lands is determined.

Targets:

  • A Crown land management and acquisition strategy is completed with input from farmers, stakeholders and the public.
  • A cultural resource values statement contributes to the development of management objectives for scenic view planes on Crown land.

Objective 2.5

Visitors and stakeholders have the opportunity for meaningful engagement regarding ecological management issues and priorities.

Targets:

  • New visitor experience, volunteer and outreach opportunities focused on the park’s ecosystem and biodiversity are developed and implemented.
  • The number of stakeholders who support and are engaged in measures required to restore and maintain ecological integrity in the park shows and increasing trend.

Objective 2.6

Coastal erosion is managed by restoration and retreat as a first priority and armouring may be applied in specific cases where infrastructure investments requires it. Where possible, facilities/infrastructure at risk due to coastal erosion are relocated inland to ensure visitor safety and natural/cultural resource protection.

Targets:

  • A strategy for sustainable maintenance of built assets along the coast is in place.
  • Following a review of impacts on ecological integrity and visitor safety and further consultations, identified Irish moss harvest access locations are removed, rehabilitated and restored.

Key strategy 3:

The Beach and Beyond

Visitors will continue to enjoy excellent value during their trip to Prince Edward Island National Park. New investments in park facilities and trails, the renewal of learning opportunities and incorporating new technologies are key components of this strategy. Understanding the interests and needs of current and future visitors will help in identifying new products that are engaging and relevant, and will ensure a full suite of quality programs and services that satisfy visitor expectations. This strategy aims to engage visitors and new audiences by exploring ideas for outdoor recreation and innovative learning opportunities that will expand the connections to the park’s natural heritage over the next 10 years.

Objective 3.1

Visitor needs and the principles of environmental sustainability are met with new and rehabilitated visitor infrastructure.

Targets:

  • Beach facilities and trail improvements are complete by 2020.
  • Two trails are upgraded to be fully accessible by 2020.
  • The condition of visitor experience assets / facilities improves to ‘good’ by 2020.
  • Wayfinding signage in the park is improved by 2020, particularly in the Cavendish and Greenwich areas of the park.

Objective 3.2

People connect with the park through new experiences and innovative learning opportunities focused on natural and cultural values of the park.

Targets:

  • The number of volunteer opportunities and volunteers shows an increasing trend.
  • The percentage of visitors surveyed that consider that they learned about the natural heritage of the national park shows an increasing trend in the next State of Park Assessment.
  • 90% of visitors surveyed report that they enjoyed their visit to Prince Edward Island National Park.

Objective 3.3

Innovative visitor experience opportunities (e.g. ‘Learn to Camp’, Indigenous tourism, etc.) attract increased and sustainable visitation to the park.

Targets:

  • The percentage of youth and new Canadian visitors increases.
  • Destination Marketing Organizations and partners are engaged in the creation of new products.
  • Satisfaction with value for entry fee increases to ‘fair’ or ‘good’ in the next State of Park Assessment.

Key strategy 4:

People, the Sea and a Changing Landscape

Creating connections for visitors and Canadians to the natural and cultural environment will improve their understanding and appreciation of Prince Edward Island National Park. Sharing the stories of the people, the sea and the changing landscape will be integrated into all aspects of park management.

Objective 4.1

Mi’kmaw First Nations, Island cultural interest groups, and stakeholders collaborate with Parks Canada to share their stories with visitors.

Targets:

  • An annual review of collaborative programs with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island is conducted to ensure continuous improvement.
  • Cultural heritage is shared with visitors and Canadians through collaborative initiatives with Mi’kmaq, Island cultural interest groups and/or stakeholders.

Objective 4.2

Educational tools enable exploration of trails and of ecosystems and cultural landscapes, and interpretive activities are held in places where people congregate.

Targets:

  • The number of visitors participating in learning activities shows an increasing trend.
  • Non-personal media products have been renewed.
  • Baseline data for use of new technologies has been established, and an increasing trend in usage has been achieved.

Objective 4.3

Canadians appreciate and are inspired to visit Prince Edward Island National Park through targeted outreach and promotions initiatives.

Targets:

  • Prince Edward Island National Park increases participation in national programs targeting youth and other priority audiences as identified by the Parks Canada Agency.
  • Target markets are reached through collaboration with Destination Marketing Organizations and partners.
  • The number of urban outreach contacts shows an increasing trend.
  • The number of visitors from target markets shows an increasing trend.

6.0 Management Areas

Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site of Canada

Dalvay-by-the-Sea was constructed between 1896 and 1899. It was the summer residence of the American industrialist Alexander McDonald. The property remained in the hands of a number of private owners until it was transferred to the federal government in 1937, when Prince Edward Island National Park was created. Shortly thereafter it was converted into a resort hotel. Dalvay-by-the-Sea is managed by a private sector operator under long-term lease with Parks Canada.

The management approach for Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site is focused on identifying the site as an international coastal vacation destination and a place where cultural resources are understood and valued.

Objectives

  • Cultural resources are identified, valued, understood and conserved in accordance with the Parks Canada Cultural Resource Management Policy and the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.
  • Parks Canada collaborates with the site operator to maintain the property so as to respect the site’s heritage values and cultural resources, present a positive image to the public, and reflect the Parks Canada brand.
  • Parks Canada collaborates with partners and the site operator to research and understand the impacts of coastal erosion and climate change on Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site.
  • Parks Canada provides information about the significance of Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site on its website and on the Canadian Register of Historic Places, and works with the site operator to ensure promotion of the site.
  • Parks Canada works cooperatively with the operator of the site and local communities and/or stakeholder groups to communicate the national historic significance of the site to visitors and provide opportunities for visitor experience, including special events to be held on site.

7.0 Zoning and Declared Wilderness Areas

Zoning is an important management tool that helps to support the park vision by directing visitor use to appropriate areas of the park, and ensuring that rare, sensitive ecological or cultural areas are protected.

Parks Canada’s national park zoning system is an integrated approach to the classification of land and water areas in a national park and designates where particular activities can occur on land or water, based on the ability to support those uses. The zoning system has five categories:

  • Zone I - Special Preservation
  • Zone II - Wilderness
  • Zone III - Natural Environment
  • Zone IV - Outdoor Recreation
  • Zone V - Park Services

The zoning plan for the park is illustrated on Maps 2-4. The park zones apply to all scheduledFootnote 4 areas of the park, as well as the Greenwich Peninsula, which will be scheduled within the period of this plan. Several amendments have been incorporated into the zoning plan in order to:

  • identify areas of the park that have been restored to natural habitat and areas where infrastructure has been or will be removed and/or relocated to address ecological protection and visitor needs;
  • distinguish Crown lands while future use is determined; and
  • illustrate the status of the declared wilderness areas in the park.

Zone I – Special Preservation Area

Zone I is the most protective category in the Parks Canada zoning system. This zone is applied to areas of the park that are among the best examples of the features that represent the natural region, or that support outstanding or rare natural or cultural features. This zone may also be used to protect areas that are too sensitive to accommodate facility development or large numbers of visitors. Within Zone I areas, preservation is the primary management concern. Motorized access and circulation is not permitted. Natural features may be interpreted off-site.

There are 12 Zone I areas encompassing a total area of 7.4 km2 representing 33% of park lands. These areas provide a high level of protection for sensitive and representative features such as: barrier beach-dune systems on Cavendish and Blooming Point sandspits; complex parabolic dunes and counter-ridges at Greenwich; saltmarsh and brackish wetlands in New London Bay, Brackley Bay, and Covehead Bay; freshwater wetlands at Greenwich; forested tertiary dunes at Greenwich and Brackley; and excellent primary and secondary dune systems at Dalvay. Wet, rich forest type habitat used by the Canada Warbler and an example of bog habitat in the Dalvay sector have all been included in Zone I. Several of the Zone I areas include significant habitat for the Piping Plover and Gulf of St. Lawrence aster.

Zone II – Wilderness Area

Footnote 4 Scheduled areas of the park refers to park lands scheduled under the Canada National Parks Act that have been officially published in the Canada Gazette periodical.

Zone II wilderness areas are meant to protect representative natural landscapes where visitors can experience nature with minimal human intrusion or facilities. The visitor experience in these areas is focused on self-propelled activities. No motorized access or circulation is permitted.

Zone II wilderness areas totalling 2.4 km2 or 11% of all park lands have been established around Zone I areas at Greenwich. These Zone II areas encompass forested habitat on the margins of the main dune complexes, and the beach area extending from the Greenwich day-use area around the tip of the peninsula to the Tlaqatik trail. The Zone II areas provide a buffer between the Zone I dune and wetland areas and the Zone III and IV areas where the majority of the visitor infrastructure is located.

Zone III – Natural Environment Area

Zone III areas are managed as natural environments that are capable of supporting a range of visitor experiences. These areas enable visitors to enjoy and learn about the park’s natural and cultural features through outdoor recreational and educational activities requiring minimal facilities and services.

The Zone III areas in Prince Edward Island National Park encompass a total area of 10.7 km2 or 48% of the park. Most of the park hiking trails, many of the interpretive exhibits, and many of the park beaches are located within Zone III areas.

Zone IV – Outdoor Recreation

The Zone IV designation is applied to limited areas that are capable of supporting more intensive visitor use and major facilities. These zones provide direct access by motorized vehicles.

The Zone IV areas include: all paved roads, parking lots and beach facilities; campgrounds; Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site; Greenwich Interpretation Centre; and, the Brackley Beach Complex and Cavendish day use area. Collectively, these areas encompass 1.8 km2 or 8% of all park lands.

Zone V – Park Services

Zone V is applied to major park operation and administrative functions. The Dalvay Administrative Compound and the sewage treatment system that services the Dalvay Complex has been assigned Zone V.

Environmentally / Culturally Sensitive Sites

Environmentally (ESS) and culturally (CSS) sensitive sites are designated on the zoning maps where an area is either too small to be designated as a discrete Zone I or because a site may be variable from one year to the next, such as with bird nesting locations. Recognition as an ESS or CSS ensures that the values for which a site has been designated are protected and respected in any park management decisions or actions. Appendix A provides a list of ESS and CSS located in the park.

Crown Lands

Parks Canada has acquired lands near the park over the past 40 years in order to buffer the park from adjacent development and to compensate for the loss of coastal lands that are eroding from natural causes. To date, over 13 km2 of Crown land exists adjacent to the park boundary. The future use of Crown lands will be subject to a Crown land management and acquisition strategy (see objective 2.4). Crown lands that are rented to local farmers may contain patches of natural areas, or may be critical to establishing and maintaining connectivity between larger habitat patches on Crown or park land. In these cases, discussions will be held with farmers to determine the most appropriate way to protect these values.

The Crown land management and acquisition strategy will include a public consultation program to ensure the interests and opinions of farmers, stakeholders and the public are considered. The strategy will include a review of existing information and will incorporate the management direction outlined in this plan.

Scenic View Planes

The pastoral setting and ocean vistas that typify the Cavendish area of the park continue to be a priority for park management. The agricultural use of Crown lands has maintained some of these views for the most part, but as the future of Crown lands is reviewed, the long-term management of view planes will be determined. As indicated in the 2007 management plan, the Greenwich cultural landscape (see map 4), which is considered a scenic view plane, will be maintained in a non-forested condition. The cultural value of view planes identified in the 1998 management plan will be reviewed during the development of the cultural resource values statement (objective 1.2).

Wilderness Area Declaration

Lands within national parks may be declared as wilderness areas under section 14 of the Canada National Parks Act. The intent of designating a portion of a national park as a declared wilderness area is to maintain or restore its wilderness character. Only limited development for the purpose of park administration, public safety and the provision of basic user facilities, such as trails and rudimentary campsites, is permitted in a declared wilderness area.

The following three areas, shown on Map 5, will be recommended for declaration as wilderness areas: Blooming Point, Cavendish Sandspit and an area in the Greenwich sector. The area in the Greenwich sector will be considered for declaration once it has been scheduled under the Canada National Parks Act

Map 2 Western Sector Zoning

Zoning Map for the Wester Sector of Prince Edward Island National Park

Map 3 Central Sector Zoning

Zoning Map for the Central Sector of Prince Edward Island National Park

Map 4 Eastern Sector Zoning

Zoning Map for the Easter Sector of Prince Edward Island National Park

Map 5 Proposed Wilderness Areas

Proposed Wilderness Areas for Prince Edward Island National Park

8.0 Summary of Strategic Environmental Assessment

Parks Canada is responsible for assessing and mitigating the impacts of management actions on ecosystems and cultural resources. The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, prepared by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, requires a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of all plans and policies submitted to the Federal Cabinet or to a Minister for approval deemed to have important positive or negative environmental effects.

A strategic environmental assessment was undertaken on this management plan, and the management direction found within has been adjusted to respond to findings. The overall intent of the plan is to ensure Parks Canada’s accountability to Canadians, outlining how the management team will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate. 

Implementation of the plan and subsequent management was assessed for its likelihood to generate positive or negative environmental effects. Analysis found that the plan is expected to increase the level of protection for natural resources and cultural resources, and to contribute to the achievement of key visitor experience management objectives at Prince Edward Island National Park. A number of important positive environmental effects were identified. No negative environmental effects are expected; however, some areas of uncertainty were identified. Mitigation strategies have been outlined to avoid and minimize potential negative environmental effects that could emerge from these areas of uncertainty, with a specific focus on managing cumulative effects. 

All future projects proposed to take place at Prince Edward Island National Park will be reviewed to determine if an impact assessment is required pursuant to applicable legislated processes, such as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This will be accomplished using the appropriate mechanism, such as one of the Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) pathways for any projects that could have adverse effects on natural resources, or the Cultural Resource Impact Analysis (CRIA) process for projects whose impacts would be restricted to cultural resources.

Parks Canada will evaluate the potential impacts of proposed projects and utilise the results of the assessments when deciding on a course of action to approve or not approve specific projects that may be proposed to meet the objectives and targets of this plan.

Appendix A – List of Environmentally and Culturally Sensitive Sites

Environmentally Sensitive Sites in Prince Edward Island National Park

Cavendish to North Rustico (Western) Sector

Mixed Wood Stand on Crown Land, Acadian Forest Stand

There are remnant examples of the Acadian Forest type in Prince Edward Island National Park of which this four hectare mixed wood/red oak stand is a key component. It is imperative that efforts be made to protect and/or increase the representativeness of red oak within the park. This site is the best example of a mixed wood forest in the park, where red oak forms the dominant and co-dominant strata. Regeneration is occurring and mature seed-bearing trees are evident. 

Sugar Maple Stand

A mature hardwood stand of predominantly sugar maple (Acer rubrum) approximately 4.4ha in area, is located partly on the Cavendish Grove site and partly on the Simpson property. This type of forest stand is rare on Prince Edward Island and is the only such stand in Prince Edward Island National Park, hence maintaining its ecological integrity is a priority for the park.

Site of Ironwood (Hop-Hornbeam) Trees in Cavendish

Less than ten Ironwood (Hop-Hornbeam) trees are located within the Green Gables Golf course concession. They represent one of only four sites on Prince Edward Island, and one of only two sites in Queens County, where this species is known to exist. The significance of this remnant community is heightened in that this site is the only one situated within a protected area. 

Orby Head Black Guillemot Nesting / Roosting Area

The headland at Orby Head provides habitat as a Black Guillemot nesting / roosting site. 

Brackley to Dalvay (Central) Sector

Brackley Tertiary Dune System

This area represents one of the most stable tertiary dune systems within the Park and requires an Environmentally Sensitive Site designation because of its fragility.

Bubbling Springs Fresh Water Spring

This freshwater spring, located along the trail that bears its name, is one of only a few freshwater springs within the Park. It is located in an area with relatively high visitor use, with potential for negative impacts if not properly managed.

Culturally Sensitive Sites in Prince Edward Island National Park

Brackley to Blooming Point (Central) Sector

Rustico Island (now referred to as Robinsons Island) Archaeological Site

An archaeological site on Robinsons Island marks the location of two periods of early aboriginal habitation.  Little is known about the first period of occupation. Archaeological excavations of the latter period indicate that the site was a seasonal encampment used during the gathering of shellfish. One of the largest remaining shell middens on Prince Edward Island is located at this site.

Stanhope Pioneer Cemetery

The Pioneer Cemetery on the Farmlands Trail in Stanhope has been recognized as a sensitive site, as it is the resting area for many of the early settlers of the Stanhope area, and for victims of the Yankee Gale Disaster.

Stanhope Archaeological Site

Excavations of an old cellar located along the Farmlands Trail indicate this may be the site of the home of one of the earliest settlers in the Stanhope area. As it is located along a hiking/cycling trail it has been recognized as a sensitive cultural site.

Greenwich (Eastern) Sector

Archaeological Sites

The Jones site, named after amateur archaeologist Rollie Jones who discovered it, is very significant to the history of Greenwich and for Prince Edward Island. Archaeological investigations in the 1980s and again in 2000 revealed the presence of different cultures during the past 9-10,000 years beginning with the Palaeo-Indian period.

Acadian Cellars

Archaeological investigations were carried out along the shores of St. Peters Bay in areas where French/Acadian homes were known to be located. Evidence of at least three cellars has been found to date. These are very significant to the history of Greenwich, as well as the Island, as the St. Peters Bay area was one of the first French settlements on the Prince Edward Island.

Heritage Buildings

Cavendish to North Rustico (Western Sector)

Simpson House

Located on the former Simpson farm in Cavendish, the house was built in 1921 and was recognized as a federal heritage building in 1998. It is historically significant to the story of the establishment of tourism in Cavendish as it was the first house in the area known to be designed deliberately to accommodate visitors. It is also recognized for its representation of the Classical Revival Style in architecture.