L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan 2019
L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, 2019.
Cette publication est aussi disponible en français.
- PDF : R64-513/2019E-PDF
- Paper: R64-513/2019E
For more information about the management plan or about L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada:
Front Cover Image Credits
Top from left to right: Parks Canada/Dale Wilson, Parks Canada/Chris Reardon
Bottom: Parks Canada/Sheldon Stone
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 L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site 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 management plan for L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada.
Original signed by
Recommended and original signed by
Acting Chief Executive Officer
Senior Vice-President, Operations
Field Unit Superintendent
Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit
L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site (NHS) is located on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland (Map 1). Officially declared a National Historic Site in 1977, the site was also inscribed a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 1978.
This management plan replaces the 2003 Management Plan for L’Anse aux Meadows NHS which provided management direction for many improvements to commemorative integrity, visitor experience and external relations. Since 2003, investments to the visitor centre, trail system, reconstructed sod buildings, the Viking Encampment living history program, as well as a new exhibit and film, all enhanced the interpretive offer of the site. Various partnerships have led to increased promotion of the site.
In the new management plan, four key strategies are proposed to guide management activities for L’Anse aux Meadows NHS over the next 10 years.
Increasing visitation and exposure through strategic marketing, engagement and outreach
A focus of this strategy will be to work with key partners such as Cruise ship expedition operators and Scandinavian-associated festivals to increase visitation to the site. This strategy aims to extend the site’s reach to broader audiences and attract new Canadian and international visitors.
Engaging visitors through an enhanced Viking experience
This strategy guides the revitalization of the Norse living history program through investment in interpretive resources such as functional reproductions for hands-on demonstrations and maintenance of the reconstructed sod huts, as well as fostering skills development and succession planning for staff. As a result, visitors will continue to experience an engaging and authentic living history program at L’Anse aux Meadows NHS.
Preserving the unique landscapes, habitats, viewscapes, cultural resources and outstanding universal valueFootnote 1
This strategy will consolidate multiple sources of information about the Site including the location of key attributes, important natural and cultural resources, sensitive areas, existing infrastructure and operational considerations into an updated accurate resource tool that will guide future decision making and ensure the protection of the unique characteristics and values of this iconic site.
Maintaining a strong relationship with Indigenous and local communities
This strategy aims to recognize the importance of strong, collaborative relationships with Indigenous partners and local community residents. The Agency will continue to seek opportunities to engage Indigenous partners and share their stories. Increased volunteer opportunities will support community engagement and traditional activities will continue to be managed respecting the traditions of local residents while ensuring the protection of the site’s commemorative integrity and ecological values.
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 Parks Canada Agency Act requires Parks Canada to prepare a management plan for national historic sites administered by the Agency. The L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan, once approved by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada and tabled in Parliament, ensures Parks Canada’s accountability to Canadians, outlining how historic site management will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate.
This management plan replaces the 2003 Management Plan for L’Anse aux Meadows NHS which provided management direction for many improvements to commemorative integrity, visitor experience and external relations. Since the implementation of the 2003 management plan, extensive renovations to the visitor centre and the trail system, as well as a new exhibit and orientation film were undertaken to better accommodate both essential services and an increase in visitation. Additionally, major repairs to the reconstructed sod buildings, as well as investments in research, tools and equipment for the Viking Encampment living history program have enhanced the interpretive offer on site. L'Anse aux Meadows NHS has also worked with partners to promote the site through such means as travelling exhibits, film and television projects, and sporting events.
Representatives of local communities, stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples were involved in the preparation of the management plan, helping to shape the future direction of the national historic site. The plan sets clear, strategic direction for the management and operation of L’Anse aux Meadows NHS by articulating a vision, key strategies and objectives. 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 and of 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 L’Anse aux Meadows NHS and UNESCO World Heritage Site in years to come.
2.0 Significance of L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site
L’Anse aux Meadows NHS represents the only authenticated Norse archaeological site in the Americas and the earliest known European presence on the American continent. Archaeological excavations in the 1960s and 1970s uncovered the remains of eight buildings grouped into three complexes on a dry terrace surrounded by bogs and a small brook. These early 11th century dwellings and workshops, including an iron forge, were constructed of timber frames overlaid with sod and are similar to architecture in Norse Greenland and Iceland of the same period. The Norse used the site as a base camp and a gateway for explorations into Vinland for resource extraction. Able to accommodate up to 90 people, the camp was occupied for a few years with explorations occurring during the summer months.
Along with the remnants of buildings, the L'Anse aux Meadows NHS artefact collection includes evidence of bog iron ore smelting and forging, wooden debris and broken nails from ship repair, as well as a bone needle fragment, small whetstone, and a spindle whorl from a women's toolkit. However, the discovery of the bronze ring headed cloak pin typical of the Viking Age confirmed beyond all doubt the Norse nature of the site. In addition, the discovery of butternuts and a butternut burl, whose northern range is Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, also confirms saga claims that, during their time in North America, the Norse travelled further south beyond L'Anse aux Meadows NHS.
The Minister responsible for Parks Canada officially declared L’Anse aux Meadows a national historic site in 1977 on the advice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. In 1978, L’Anse aux Meadows NHS was among the first set of cultural properties to be inscribed as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, recognizing its Outstanding Universal Value, in part for its global significance in the history of human migration and discovery.
The national historic significance of L’Anse aux Meadows NHS is outlined in the 1998 Commemorative Integrity Statement for the site. Messages describing this significance are communicated publicly through on-site exhibits, a visitor centre and welcome film, sculptures placed in the landscape, guided tours of the archaeological site, and historical re-enactments delivered through the Living History Program presented in the reconstructed sod huts. Specifically, messages of national historic significance for the site focus on the following key points:
- The site was occupied in the early 11th century by the first Europeans known to have established a site in North America;
- The site was a base camp used by the Norse to explore and exploit Vinland and other areas mentioned in the Vinland Sagas;
- The site is strategically located at the entrance to Vinland;
- The site marks the first iron production in North America, produced from bog iron for boat repair; and
- The arrival of the Norse represents the first known contact between North American Indigenous people and Europeans.
Areas that are included within the Designated Place of the national historic site include the terrace where base camp remains are located, the adjacent landscape features and resources that attracted the Norse to select the location, the viewscape of the Strait of Belle Isle, offshore islands and Labrador coast, all of which were landmarks that aided Norse navigation. As such, the viewscapes and surrounding coastal barrens contribute to the overall visitor experience, the creation of a sense of place and understanding of the Site’s heritage value. In-situ Cultural Resources of National Significance include: the archaeological remains of the eight structures; associated middens; and artefacts excavated from the buildings and deposits.
L’Anse aux Meadows was inhabited by Indigenous peoples at least 4,000 years before the arrival of the Norse in ca. AD 1,000. Maritime Archaic peoples, part of an ancient hunter-gatherer occupation of northeastern North America, were the earliest, followed by the Groswater and Dorset, cultures whose origins were in the eastern Arctic. About 2,000 years ago, the area was again home to archaeologically distinct Indigenous cultures, including the ancestors of the Beothuk. Cultural resources of heritage value include: archaeological sites of Indigenous origin on the southern shore of Epaves Bay and in the vicinity of the Norse site as well as the associated artefacts; recent monuments and plaques; and two contemporary cemeteries.
In addition, facilities including replica Norse sod huts and associated reproduction artefacts are core components of the heritage presentation at the site.
3.0 Planning context
L’Anse aux Meadows NHS is located on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula (Maps 1 and 2) and represents an anchor attraction for tourism in both the region and the province. The site is one of three sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in the Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit, (along with Gros Morne National Park and Red Bay National Historic Site), and receives the highest number of visitors to Western Newfoundland after Gros Morne National Park. The context that helps set priorities for the management of this site include Parks Canada’s Cultural Resource Management Policy, Canada’s commitments under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, the site’s defined heritage values, including those related to its Outstanding Universal Value, ecosystem features and species at risk protection. In addition, the nationally and internationally significant story of Norse exploration and the exploitation of resources, value of these resources to adjacent rural communities and opportunities to deliver exceptional visitor experiences are important planning considerations which help set priorities for the site’s management.
UNESCO statement of significance
In 2017, the World Heritage Committee approved a retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for L’Anse aux Meadows NHS. Parks Canada is accountable for reporting on the state of conservation to the World Heritage Centre.
The UNESCO Statement of Significance is described as follows:
This archaeological site at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland contains the excavated remains of an 11th century Viking settlement consisting of timber-framed turf buildings (houses, workshops, etc.) that are identical with those found in Norse Greenland and Iceland at the same period. The site is thus unique evidence of the earliest known European presence on the American continent.
L’Anse aux Meadows was inscribed on to the World Heritage List under UNESCO’s Criterion (vi): L’Anse aux Meadows is the first and only known site established by Vikings in North America and the earliest evidence of European settlement in the New World. As such, it is a unique milestone in the history of human migration and discovery.
A unique national historic site protecting and presenting terrestrial and marine resources
Of the 80km2 property, 60% covers the marine component, 3% is comprised of offshore islands, and 37% is terrestrial. The boundary contains ecosystem features representative of the Strait of Belle Isle Ecoregion, resembling the landscape and resources that greeted the Norse over 1,000 years ago and reminiscent of landscapes in Iceland and Greenland.
The offshore islands consist of exposed bedrock and coastal heath barrens. The terrestrial component consists of tidal salt marshes, discontinuous coniferous forest, tuckamore, bogs, barrens, wetlands, and freshwater ponds. L’Anse aux Meadows NHS has been identified as a significant protected area with only a small amount of the representative habitat protected elsewhere in Newfoundland and Labrador. As such, this site is considered to be an integral component of the network of protected areas in the province.
Following a recommendation in the 2003 Management Plan, a boundary assessment was conducted in 2005 to determine whether any lands within the site should be returned to the province through a provision provided in the 1975 Federal-Provincial Agreement establishing L’Anse aux Meadows NHS. Following public consultations, the assessment recommended maintaining the status quo based on the public’s support of the present boundaries. This would ensure the protection of both cultural resources of national historic significance and cultural resources of other heritage value as well as rare flora.
Marine areas within the site’s boundary are subject to Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) fishing regulations and various marine legislation. The portion of the site that lies within Sacred Bay is part of a DFO’s Management Area and as a result, licenced fish harvesters are permitted to fish in this area. Following the 1992 cod moratorium, commercial fishing activity has decreased in the area. Aquaculture and bottom otter trawling are not permitted within the site boundary.
The site protects 38 vascular plants listed with provincial government designation of S1 (extremely rare) or S2 (rare) species on the island of Newfoundland. Most of these plants are concentrated on Great Sacred Island, Little Sacred Island and Warrens Island as well as along the coastal portion of the designated area. Additionally, the site is important for various migratory seabirds and represents one of the two most important eider duck nesting colonies on the island of Newfoundland. Currently, human access to the islands during breeding times is restricted. Finally, the Species at Risk Act (SARA) listed short-eared owl is seen frequently in the bogs and marshes within the site boundary, with breeding confirmed in 2013. Opportunities exist to further engage local communities in volunteer stewardship initiatives, not only to build capacity for monitoring within the site boundary, but also to meet Agency targets for increasing the percentage of Parks Canada volunteers and to continue building meaningful partnerships with surrounding communities.
Relationship with Indigenous partners, adjacent communities and stakeholders
Key partners and stakeholders for L’Anse aux Meadows NHS include Indigenous Peoples, local communities and service districts, tourism operators, the provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation. Also included are regional and provincial tourism marketing organizations, St. Anthony Basin Resources Incorporated, local rural development associations, Grenfell Historic Trust, Norstead Viking Village, the Historic Sites Association, The Rooms in St. John’s, the provincial museum and archives and DFO.
In recent years, the site has integrated additional elements of Indigenous storytelling into renewed exhibits, a new orientation film, and interpretation programming. The objective has been to better communicate and present Indigenous history on the location of the site and the nationally significant history of the first contact between the Norse and Indigenous Peoples. Locally, Parks Canada engages with the Innu Nation, NunatuKavut, Nunatsiavut, Qalipu, and the Miawpukek First Nation. The newly established Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve in southern Labrador protects the Wunderstrand, a 50-kilometer stretch of beach described in the Vinland Sagas. The Sagas suggest that some contact between the Norse and Indigenous peoples may have occurred in this region of Labrador, referred to as Markland in the Sagas. Opportunities exist to explore linkages between L’Anse aux Meadows NHS and Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains in both commemorating and presenting the story of first contact.
Traditional resource harvesting activities for domestic consumption occurring within the site boundary include (Map 3) recreational fishing, migratory bird hunting, berry picking, rabbit snaring, wood cutting, hay cutting, vegetable gardening and trapping (which is currently limited to one trapper). These activities have occurred within the site boundary since the establishment of the site in 1975. These activities have been essential components of rural livelihoods in the region for centuries and are representative of the local culture, and form part of the site’s story. The number of individuals engaged in these traditional activities has decreased in recent years, and the 2003 Management Plan provides guidelines to manage these activities in ways that do not threaten or impair commemorative integrity nor the protection of natural ecosystem features.
With regard to snowmobiling, the 2003 Management Plan allows local residents to snowmobile within the site boundary in ways that ensure the activity does not threaten natural and cultural resources. Established routes for residents of Hay Cove and L’Anse aux Meadows NHS bypass the archaeological site. Additional detail regarding traditional activities are described in Appendix 1.
Phase II lands
The 1975 Federal-Provincial Agreement identified Beak Point as Phase II lands to be included as part of the site within five years of establishment. Two households occupy Beak Point, which is close to the archaeological site. The 2003 Management Plan identified a process through which Phase II lands would eventually be included within the boundary. Landowners and their children are allowed to hold the land in freehold until such time as they are willing to sell their land to the Crown. Parks Canada will work with the provincial government to ensure that any potential development on Phase II lands is in keeping with the proximity to and eventual inclusion in the site boundary. This will be done by allowing for single dwelling homes and associated out-buildings and non-commercial facilities (with the exception of structures associated to commercial fishing). In response to a request by UNESCO, a survey of Phase II lands at Beak Point was conducted in 2017 which clarified current boundary data.
Key issues and opportunities
A 2015 State of Site Assessment determined that overall the cultural resources are in good condition and the archeological sites and objects are in good condition. The landscape and the built heritage are currently well maintained and in good condition.
Artefact security is an important issue for the site. Eight original artefacts, owned by the province and representing core components of the on-site exhibit, are transported twice a year between the site and The Rooms cultural facility in St. John’s. This transportation carries the risk of artefact deterioration over time and requires travel and human resources. As a site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, visitor expectations are that they see the authentic artefacts on-site.
Visitation to L’Anse aux Meadows NHS has been increasing in recent years. In 2014, 20,796 visitors experienced the site, followed by 23,873 in 2015, 27,982 in 2016, 36,844 in 2017 (free entry for Canada 150) and 33,553 visitors in 2018.
L’Anse aux Meadows NHS' visitor profile is changing. Based on 2015 market analysis data, 98% are first-time visitors, with 76% of visitors originating from Canada. Forty-five percent chose the site as a primary destination with 54% planning ahead to visit according to the 2009 Visitor Information Program (VIP) Survey. While commercial groups visiting the site have increased moderately, the number of independent travellers has also increased by approximately 23% in the last five years, not including the visitation experienced in 2017 with free entry.
Renewal of visitor experience
A strategic review of the Viking Encampment living history program is required. Refocusing and renewing the visitor experience offer will create opportunities to increase visitation, visitor connection to place, enjoyment, learning, and active participation. Other opportunities include promoting best practices for the site and enhancing L’Anse aux Meadows NHS' role as an anchor tourism attraction in the region.
External relations, outreach and promotions
To continue to strengthen site visitation, the site must support existing partnerships, rekindle partnerships that have waned, and forge new collaborations. A strategic approach is required to both identify partnerships and target investments. An outreach strategy focusing on the off-season is also required. As the only authenticated Norse settlement in North America, there are considerable opportunities to engage the public in this unique story. Partnerships that can enhance promotions and outreach to both urban audiences and key interest groups across North America and Europe in the off-season will be of particular importance. Opportunities also exist to further engage with the province on marketing, building on the connection between the trio of sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List that are managed by Parks Canada, and access to the sites via the new Trans-Labrador highway.
L’Anse aux Meadows NHS is internationally renowned as a premier Viking destination, drawing visitors from around the world to the authentic place that tells the story of Norse exploration of North America and celebrates how humanity circled the planet and finally reconnected at the eastern edge of the Americas.
L’Anse aux Meadows NHS continues to protect a historical landscape that has changed little over the past thousand years. As visitors explore the site, they are struck by the raw beauty of the surrounding landscape and are inspired by the same viewscapes that greeted Norse crews over one thousand years ago. Archeological resources, which are the authentic remains of the Viking presence, are protected.
Entering the reconstructed Viking Encampment, visitors are transported into the past and are captivated by the site’s story through creative, engaging and authentic programming delivered by historical re-enactors.
As an iconic destination, L’Anse aux Meadows NHS is a must-see anchor attraction for western Newfoundland and the Northern Peninsula that visitors plan ahead to visit. The site drives visitation to the area, collaborates closely with regional partners, and serves as a major contributor to the region’s economy.
L’Anse aux Meadows NHS is a national leader in heritage conservation and a trailblazer in the national historic site community for its innovative, creative, memorable, and engaging experiences that successfully attract a variety of markets to the site. Off-site special events expand the site’s reach, raising awareness of L’Anse aux Meadows’ unique story through food, music, art and storytelling and encouraging a broad audience from both across the country and internationally to visit this culturally diverse region.
Residents of adjacent communities continue to carry out their traditional activities. Parks Canada, Indigenous and local communities collaborate in building a vibrant destination that connects the hearts and minds of visitors to the diversity of historical and contemporary cultures and traditions. L’Anse aux Meadows NHS contributes to a strong sustainable rural economy and offers employment benefits to the region. Through these strong connections to local communities and their culture and traditional activities, our visitors are thrilled by the multi-dimensional richness of this local story.
5.0 Key strategies
The planning priorities for L’Anse aux Meadows NHS will be achieved through a results-based management framework consisting of four integrated key strategies and associated objectives and targets designed to measure progress.
Increasing visitation and exposure through strategic marketing, engagement and outreach
A focus of this strategy will be to work with cruise ship expedition operators and partners on opportunities for growth through destination development, attracting target markets and diversifying the site’s audience. L’Anse aux Meadows NHS will continue to identify and secure new resources and funding partners to facilitate targeted promotions and broader outreach activities. The site will improve trip planning information to communicate information on programming, activities and special events, and will work with the provincial government through continued collaboration and formal agreements to make sure the site is well represented in provincial marketing strategies and road signage. Focusing on reinvigorating existing partnerships and forging new ones where opportunities exist, this strategy will help strengthen relationships with North American museums and Scandinavian-associated festivals as well as international partners in Greenland, Iceland and northern Europe. Northern Newfoundland has been receiving visitors by sea for over 1,000 years. St. Anthony located 40 kilometres from the site is known as the Gateway to the Vikings. St. Anthony is part of the Northern Newfoundland port of call receiving cruise ships during tourist season. Seven cruise ships stopped in St. Anthony in 2016 with about 2100 passengers.
L’Anse aux Meadows NHS has broadened its exposure and a new generation of visitors are visiting the site.
- By 2026, visitation has increased annually from 2015 levels.
- By 2023, target markets are visiting the site in increasing numbers and underrepresented markets are more aware of the site and visiting in increasing numbers.
- 3. By 2023, visit information prior to arrival is improved and 90% of visitors surveyed through the next VIP Survey report being satisfied with their trip planning and arrival experience.
- By 2022, an outreach strategy is developed for the site.
- Through strategic partnerships, the site is involved in two traveling exhibits and off-site activities per year.
- Continue to work with The Rooms in St. John’s regarding the transportation and conservation of the artifacts that belong to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Increase Canadians’ awareness of the site and its cultural significance through urban outreach initiatives in targeted cities such as Toronto and more locally in St. John’s and Corner Brook.
- Increase interest among Canadians by telling stories from L'Anse aux Meadows NHS through media pitches, social media, and web content.
Engaging visitors through an enhanced Viking experience
This strategy will help guide the revitalization of the living history program through which an authentic story of the Norse expeditions in North America is presented and quality interactive visitor experience is delivered. Core components of this strategy include investment in functional reproductions used during hands-on demonstrations, routine maintenance and repair of the reconstructed sod huts, skills development for staff, and implementing a strategy that underpins succession planning vital to the living history program. In terms of supporting visitor experience through the Viking Encampment Program over the longer-term, the site’s capital plan will reflect the reality that the reconstructed sod huts require interventions within a 15 to 20-year cycle in order to address major structural issues, as these buildings are not permanent structures.
A revitalized living history program engages visitors in authentic experiences and brings to life the story of the Norse on the edge of North America.
- Every 5 years routine investments are made in Viking Age reproductions and associated goods used in the professional delivery of the living history program.
- The Buildings Indicator for Built Assets maintains a ‘good’ and ‘stable’ rating in the next State of Site Assessment (2025).
The site continues to attract and retain professional staff passionate about delivering historically accurate programming that maintains quality standards.
- Every two years, site staff take part in a skills development workshop, incorporating these enhanced skills into the revitalized visitor experience programming and supporting the long-term viability of the program and succession planning.
- Visitor enjoyment and satisfaction ratings of over 95%, received during the last VIP Survey in 2009, are maintained in subsequent surveys.
Preserving the unique landscapes, habitats, viewscapes, cultural resources, and outstanding universal value
This strategy involves developing a guidance document that consolidates important management information and serves as an updated and accurate resource tool to guide site maintenance and future infrastructure-related work. The need for this guidance document was identified in the site’s Commemorative Integrity Assessment in 2011 and it will help to avoid any potential risk to cultural resources, guide ongoing site monitoring efforts and clarify areas currently used for traditional resource harvesting.
Information that will be consolidated includes maps, databases, and the locations of archaeological resources, potential cultural resources, rare plants and bird colonies, biophysical attributes, traditional resource harvesting for domestic purposes, local access points and corridors, access routes to modern cemeteries, Saddle Hill Pond water supply, vegetation maintenance, snow clearing procedures, and boundary surveys.
Information is pooled into one resource tool that identifies sensitive areas and guides land-use and routine conservation maintenance programs at the site.
- By 2023 a Cultural Landscape and Land-use Guidance Document is completed.
Maintaining a strong relationship with Indigenous and local communities
This strategy recognizes the site’s importance in helping to maintain a traditional rural life for area residents and ensures that traditional activities continue to be managed as outlined in the 2003 L’Anse aux Meadows NHS Management Plan. Linking the local culture and traditions of area residents with the creation of memorable visitor experiences will continue to be a priority for the site. This strategy also provides avenues for volunteer stewardship opportunities that support the site in managing its natural resources.
Traditional activities occurring within the site’s boundary for domestic use will continue to be managed in such a way that respects the traditional and rural activities of local residents. These activities include berry picking, hay cutting, maintaining vegetable gardens, trapping, snaring, domestic wood harvesting, migratory bird hunting, recreational fishing, and snowmobiling. Parks Canada will continue to permit access to traditional resources that do not threaten or impair commemorative integrity, and are in accordance with the protection of natural ecosystem features, as outlined in detail in the 2003 L’Anse aux Meadows NHS Management Plan. Additional details on traditional activities described in the 2003 management plan are described in Appendix 1.
- Traditional activities proceed on the site without compromising commemorative integrity and the environment.
Volunteers are invited to assist Parks Canada with the stewardship of the rich cultural and natural heritage protected within the site’s boundaries.
- A greater number of volunteer opportunities exist as compared to previous years.
- Parks Canada is maintaining robust and engaging relationships with key partners in the local community by leading at least one meeting per year.
Parks Canada continues to engage with our Indigenous partners, maintaining a successful collaborative relationship and capitalizing on opportunities as they arise.
- Canada maintains successful relationships with our Indigenous partners and continues to identify opportunities to incorporate the Indigenous story into exhibits, offers and programming.
6.0 Summary of strategic environmental assessment
Parks Canada is responsible for assessing and mitigating the impacts of management actions on ecosystems and on 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 policy 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 following is a summary of the environmental assessment:
The key strategies, objectives, and targets identified in the management plan are oriented at achieving positive outcomes, however, the SEA process provides an opportunity to consider the potential for inadvertent negative impacts that could occur as well as to suggest options to mitigate any predicted impacts. Following this analysis, it was determined that implementation of the proposed key strategies are not anticipated to have any negative impacts on natural resources. No negative effects are predicted for cultural resources or visitor experience objectives, while some likely positive effects were identified for these components. Indirect effects to health and socio-economic conditions and the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by indigenous persons and local residents of adjacent communities were also considered in the SEA, and no negative effects are predicted. There are some projects that may be pursued in the future as a result of the implementation of this plan. These projects will be assessed individually using the Parks Canada Environmental Impact Analysis process as an additional mechanism to prevent adverse environmental effects to the valued components of L’Anse aux Meadows NHS and reasons for its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The plan, as proposed, will not contribute to important negative environmental effects.
Traditional activities (excerpt from 2003 L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site Management Plan)
There are a number of traditional activities occurring within the boundary of L’Anse aux Meadows NHS. The site boundary encompasses a land and water area that residents of the adjacent coastal communities have traditionally used for domestic purposes such as domestic wood harvesting, berry picking and snaring. The size of the site, combined with its location adjacent to communities, provides for unique land use patterns. Traditional land and sea activities have continued with the acknowledgement of site staff since the establishment of the site in 1975. This management plan provides guidelines which permit continued access to traditional activities that do not threaten or impair commemorative integrity, and are in accordance with the protection of natural ecosystem features as outlined in the cultural resources management (CRM) policy.
- To ensure the management of traditional activities respects the commemorative integrity of the site and the management of natural ecosystem features as outlined in the CRM policy.
- To recognise the area’s importance in helping to maintain a traditional rural life for residents of the area.
Jams and spreads made from local berries have always been part of the traditional diet of people throughout the province, and the area around the site is no different. Two kinds of berries are picked within the site boundary, bakeapple (Rubus chamaemorus) which are found on the flat bog areas, and partridge berry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) which are found on the rock barrens. These areas are spread throughout the site, including the islands.
- Continue to permit berry picking for domestic purposes only.
- Manage berry picking activities to ensure habitat protection of the bog and barren areas and protection of cultural resources.
Many residents in the area of the site grow their own root vegetables in small, private garden plots. This is a normal activity throughout most of the province. However, on the Northern Peninsula, residents have established many of their gardens along the sides of the road rather than next to their homes. This land use pattern started with the building of the roads in the late 1970’s. Much of the land surrounding the communities is either rocky, gravelly or bog.
- Permit existing vegetable gardens to remain. New gardens may be permitted in approved areas within the highway corridor.
There is one trapper operating within the boundary of the site. Like many other activities, trapping occurred in the area prior to the site’s establishment. The trapping season is from October to April, and occurs in the eastern portion of the site away from the visitor center and archaeological site. The animals most commonly trapped include mink, weasel, otter, beaver, muskrat and fox. Permission has been granted on an annual basis by the site supervisor or superintendent.
- Allow the present trapper to continue trapping animals within the site boundary.
- The current license will be non-transferable and no other license will be issued.
- Require that the present trapper report the species type and number trapped as a condition of his license.
- Manage trapping activities to ensure that all species populations are maintained.
- Manage and control trapping activities according to Provincial Wildlife Regulations.
A number of people in adjacent communities snare rabbits, or snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) within the site boundary. These activities occur from mid-October to mid-February throughout the site, except in the immediate area of the archaeological site. The animals, first introduced to the island between 1864-1876, now form a part of the traditional diet of the residents.
- Continue to permit residents to snare snowshoe hare within the site for domestic purposes only.
- A provincial licence will be required for snaring.
- Manage snaring activities to ensure that snowshoe hare populations are adequately maintained.
- Manage and control snaring activities according to Provincial Wildlife Regulations.
In 1980, there was an agreement between Parks Canada and the local residents of L’Anse aux Meadows, Hay Cove, Straits view, and Noddy Bay that individuals from these communities could continue to harvest wood within the site. Like other traditional activities, dependency on wood fuel has decreased during the past 20 years. Most residents who continue to use wood for fuel cut it on provincial lands along Route 430, and only travel through the site to transport the wood. There are some people who continue to harvest wood within the site boundary. They each cut approximately two cords of wood annually in the areas of Crooked Lead Pond, Watch Pond and Otter Pond.
- Continue to permit wood cutting by individuals who currently cut wood in the site, under license, as per the conditions of the 1980 agreement.
- Require the current harvesters to report the amount of wood they cut, and the location of the cutting, as a condition of their license.
- Effectively manage domestic wood harvesting activities to ensure the protection of natural ecosystem features.
- Manage and control wood cutting activities according to the Provincial Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods Regulations.
Hunting has been prohibited on the mainland area of L’Anse aux Meadows NHS since the site was established in 1975. However, hunting of migratory birds was permitted on the water and island areas of the site. The ducks (mergansers, black duck, and eiders) and geese are consumed as part of the traditional diet of residents. The Canadian Wildlife Service studies the bird populations in the Sacred Bay area as a part of their monitoring program for insular Newfoundland.
- Continue to permit hunting of mergansers, black duck, eiders and geese on the water and islands, with the exception of Warrens Island.
- Require hunters to report the species and number of birds hunted as a condition of their permit.
- No hunting will occur until after the site has officially closed for the season.
- Manage and control this activity under the regulations of the Migratory Birds Convention Act.
There are no licensed salmon rivers or major rivers of any type within L’Anse aux Meadows NHS. However, there are 79 permanent small ponds and lakes. Seven of these lakes account for over 50% of the total water area in the site including Long Pond, Skokingleg Pond, Axe Pond, Komatic Pond, Grub Pond, Otter Pond and Squires Pond. Residents use these areas for trout fishing in the summer and in the winter. Sea and mud trout are fished in the ponds. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans set the season and bag limits for recreational fishing in the province.
- Continue to permit recreational fishing.
- Manage this activity with Newfoundland Fisheries Regulations (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) and subject to resource conservation measures.
Snowmobiling has been a popular winter activity in the L’Anse aux Meadows area for many years. Snowmobiles are used for hauling wood, checking rabbit snares and as a form of transportation and recreation. Most households in the area of the site have at least one snowmobile.
Each of the communities of L’Anse aux Meadows, Hay Cove, Straitsview and Noddy Bay have a community trail which is used by residents to travel to areas on the south side of the park boundary. These trails are well known to the residents and were used prior to the establishment of the site. There is also a groomed trail that cuts through the southeastern portion of the site for a distance of approximately two kilometers. The trail enters the site boundary at the bottom of Northwest Bay and exits in the community of Straitsview.
Parks Canada does recognise the importance of this emerging winter industry, and will work co-operatively with commercial operators to provide access by snowmobiles to the visitor center.
- Snowmobiling will not be permitted within the vicinity of the archaeological site and sod huts.
- Continue to permit local residents to snowmobile within the site boundary.
- Work together with local residents on a strategy to ensure snowmobiling does not threaten rare plants.
- Permit commercial snowmobile tours to access the site via the access road when it is closed to vehicular traffic, and into the community of L’Anse aux Meadows from the community of Hay Cove along the highway corridor. Commercial snowmobilers will also be permitted to use the groomed trail. Manage snowmobiling as a designated activity under subsection 13 of the National Historic Park General Regulations.
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