Survey Launched For Proposed Prince Edward Island Park Reserve

Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Desert, California

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An aerial view of the sandhills with the islands of Pituamkek behind them.

An aerial view of the sandhills with the islands of Pituamkek behind them/Epekwitk Meeting of Councils

The sand dunes of Pituamkek kind probably the most ecologically vital coastal dune ecosystems in Japanese Canada and these islands are of vital cultural and historic significance to the Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island.

Now Canadians are being requested to weigh in on the feasibility evaluation course of to ascertain Pituamkek Nationwide Park Reserve within the space of Malpeque Bay that’s also referred to as the Hog Island Sandhills.

“The Mi’kmaq identify Pituamkek honours our historical past and connection to the land by way of recognition of our stunning language,” Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation and Epekwitk Meeting of Councils co-chair stated in a information launch. “Pituamkek represents a chance for partnership between the PEI Mi’kmaq and the Governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island. Now we have an opportunity to protect historical past, the surroundings and an important a part of our Mi’kmaq cultural heritage.”

Situated in northwestern Prince Edward Island (Epekwitk), close to the Lennox Island First Nation reserve, are a series of islands recognized within the Mi’kmaq language as Pituamkek (Bee-doo-um-gek), which suggests “On the Lengthy Sand Dune,” and in English as “Hog Island and the Sandhills.”

A map that shows the proposed national park reserve study area as of June 2021.

A map that reveals the proposed nationwide park reserve research space as of June 2021/Parks Canada

The islands stretch for 50 kilometres (30 miles) from east to west and kind a protecting barrier to the north of Malpeque and Casumpec Bays, which have wealthy fisheries. They assist defend communities from the waves and storm impacts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and, due to local weather change, ought to be protected.

Pituamkek is house to a uncommon geological function — the island’s solely igneous rock formation, a volcanic incursion that’s greater than 240 million years outdated. It’s house to threatened and endangered species, together with the little brown bat, northern long-eared bat, piping plover and Gulf of St. Lawrence aster.

Since August 2019, the province of Prince Edward Island, Epikwitk Mi’kmaq and Parks Canada have been assessing the feasibility of this proposed nationwide park reserve. Parks Canada and L’nuey, on behalf of the Epekwitk Meeting of Councils, have developed session supplies and a public session plan that complies with required public security measures concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

The feasibility of creating a nationwide park reserve is assessed, partially, by way of intensive native engagement. That is the general public’s alternative to share their views and concepts and ask questions. Companions, stakeholders and the general public can present enter on key features comparable to space histories, present makes use of and future visions.

Canadians have till July 23 to take the general public survey posted on the Pituamkek undertaking web site at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/pituamkek.

A location known as Iron Rock is home to Prince Edward Island's only igneous rock formation.

A location generally known as Iron Rock is house to Prince Edward Island’s solely igneous rock formation/Epekwitk Meeting of Councils

Chief Junior Gould of Abegweit First Nation, who can also be Epekwitk Meeting of Councils co-chair, stated his ancestors have lengthy been stewards of the land. “We consider within the safety and preservation of Pituamkek, each environmentally and culturally. This may result in a constructive legacy for the Epekwitk Mi’kmaq, and all Islanders and Canadians of future generations.”

The undertaking dates again to 2006 when representatives from the Mi’kmaq communities of PEI, Parks Canada and the Canadian Museum of Historical past performed a foot survey of Hog Island. Two confirmed archaeological websites have been found and the cultural and ecological significance of the realm, already recognized to the native Mi’kmaq group, was dropped at the eye of presidency officers.

The Epekwitk Meeting of Councils developed and submitted a proposal to the federal Minister of Atmosphere and Minister Liable for Parks Canada to create a cooperatively-managed nationwide park reserve or different kind of protected space.

In 2009, a tripartite group made from representatives from the federal, provincial and Mi’kmaq governments started discussions to seek out mutually acceptable methods to guard the Pituamkek space. Dialogue involving the Epekwitk Meeting of Councils, the province of PEI and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) recognized shared conservation objectives for the realm. Round this time, the NCC started buying parcels of land within the space for conservation.

In 2010, the First Nations management wrote a second letter to the Minister of the Atmosphere requesting Parks Canada assist their proposal. After evaluation of the proposal and conferences between the events, Parks Canada acknowledged the Pituamkek area as being of nationwide significance and meriting consideration for protected standing.

Since then, a number of organizations have labored collectively to amass lands for conservation and to construct relationships and extra assist for the Pituamkek nationwide park reserve undertaking. The Mi’kmaq of PEI, by way of L’nuey (the Mi’kmaq rights-based initiative), the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Island Nature Belief and Parks Canada have every been instrumental.

After a number of years of advocacy from the Epekwitk Mi’kmaq, in August 2019, a historic tripartite announcement from the Province of Prince Edward Island, Epikwitk Mi’kmaq and Parks Canada formally launched the endeavor of a feasibility evaluation for the proposed nationwide park reserve in Pituamkek. The general public session course of was slated to start in early 2020, however was delayed as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

As soon as the feasibility evaluation is full and there’s settlement on a proper park idea, the subsequent step is negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), earlier than shifting to negotiations of a proper institution settlement.

Whereas there could also be alternatives for social distancing compliant in-person conferences by way of this engagement course of, the vast majority of public enter shall be gathered on-line.

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