New P.E.I. national park reserve proposed

The government of Canada is looking at setting up another national park reserve on P.E.I.'s North Shore.

Federal government to start a feasibility study on protecting the land

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna at Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site, on Charlottetown Harbour, for the announcement Wednesday. (Steve Bruce/CBC )

The government of Canada is looking at setting up another national park reserve on P.E.I.'s North Shore.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced the government is setting up a feasibility assessment to establish a national park reserve in the Hog Island Sandhills chain in northwestern Prince Edward Island.

Hog Island Sandhills is a chain of barrier islands, including rare geological formations, which stretches 50 kilometres along the northwest coast of Prince Edward Island. The islands are the province's last coastal wilderness.

Hog Island is off the northwest shore of P.E.I.

The area is home to many species at risk, including the piping plover, the gypsy cuckoo bumblebee and two species of bats. Threatened bird species on the islands include the bank swallow, Canada warbler and common nighthawk.

Hog Island Sandhills are also of special importance to the Mi'kmaq people of P.E.I. The site is home to land tradition important to the Mi'kmaq culture and archeological sites.

"The Hog Island Sandhills are very special to the Mi'kmaq people. We propose to protect and preserve this special place, including its nature and its cultural sites," said Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard in a news release.

"We hope to work together with our many partners toward our shared conservation goals. This proposal will create a positive legacy for the Mi'kmaq, all Islanders and future generations of Canadians." 

Part of federal nature protection plan

This announcement is part of the federal government's plan to increase the amount of protected nature across the country. 

"Canada is doubling the amount of nature protected in our country's lands and oceans to help recover species at risk, fight climate change, and provide Canadians with the opportunity to discover the immense richness of our nature." said McKenna in a news release.

The feasibility assessment will include extensive local consultations and will consider factors such as the social, environmental and economic benefits, as well of the impacts of establishing a reserve, the news release said.

The federal government and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy will work with the province and Island Nature Trust and Nature Conservancy in the assessment. 

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