In 2006, representatives from the Mi’kmaq communities of PEI, Parks Canada, and the Canadian Museum of History, conducted a foot survey on Hog Island. Two confirmed archaeological sites were discovered and the cultural and ecological importance of the area, already known to the local Mi’kmaq community, was brought to the attention of government officials.

The Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmnteuow developed and submitted a proposal to create a cooperatively-managed national park reserve or other type of protected area in the Pituamkek (Hog Island Sandhills) area.

In 2009, a tripartite group made of representatives from the federal, provincial and Mi’kmaq governments began a dialogue to find mutually acceptable ways to protect the Hog Island Sandhills and associated islands. Dialogue involving the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmnteuow, the province of Prince Edward Island and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) identified shared conservation goals for the area. Around this time, NCC began acquiring parcels of land in the area for conservation.

In 2010, the First Nations leadership wrote a letter to the Minister of the Environment requesting Parks Canada support their proposal. After review of the proposal, and meetings between the parties, Parks Canada recognized the Hog Island Sandhills and barrier Islands as being of national significance and meriting consideration for protected status.

Since then, multiple organizations have worked together to acquire lands for conservation and to build relationships and additional support for the Pituamkek national park reserve project. The Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI, L’nuey (the Mi’kmaq rights-based initiative), the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Island Nature Trust, Parks Canada, and Prince Edward Island have each played significant roles in the development of the vision and continuation of the project.

Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq maw-lukuti’tiji kt+ki menaqa klo’tmnow
PEI Mi’kmaq working with partners in conservation.

Official development of a national park reserve concept for Pituamkek began in August 2019 with the launch of a feasibility assessment, including consultations, to determine if and under what conditions, a national park reserve could be established in the Hog Island Sandhills of Prince Edward Island.

On June 4, 2021, Chief Darlene Bernard and Chief Junior Gould of the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmnteuow, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and the Honourable Steven Myers, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action for Prince Edward Island, announced they were launching public consultations as part of the feasibility assessment process to establish a national park reserve in the Pituamkek area (Hog Island Sandhills) of Malpeque Bay, PEI.

From June 4, 2021 to July 23, 2021, Parks Canada and L’nuey, representing the Mi’kmaq of PEI, invited partners, stakeholders and the public to provide their input on key aspects for consideration in establishing a new national park reserve. A summary of the results of the public consultation is available through a “What We Heard” report, and clearly demonstrated a strong public desire to protect the Pituamkek area.

On January 19, 2022, the Government of Canada and the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmnteuow marked the successful conclusion of the feasibility assessment for a national park reserve in the area with the signing of an MOU which began negotiations towards a formal agreement.

February 2023, the Government of Canada and the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmnteuow continue negotiations toward the establishment of a national Park Reserve in Pituamkek, with the Establishment Agreement to be finalized and signed in the coming months.

Find out where we are in the journey of creating a national park reserve in Pituamkek.

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