Sable Island team sets sail

Parks Canada employees provide Parliamentarians and crewmembers from HMCS Ville de Quebec with a tour of Sable Island as part of the Department of National Defence’s Parliamentary Program on 27 April, 2017.
Photo: MCpl Sandy Stephen, FIS Halifax

By Alannah Phillips

A/Park Manager, Sable Island National Park Reserve, Parks Canada

Three intrepid team members of Sable Island National Park Reserve signed on for a three-day sail aboard a ship of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), HMCS en, April 26-28, 2017. They set sail with over 200 sailors and participants in the RCN’s Canadian Leaders at Sea program, which included seven Members of Parliament and one senator. Joining the ship in Halifax, Parks Canada staff experienced life at sea, while interacting with the Canadian Leaders and ship’s company, providing an opportunity for the guests and ship’s crew to learn about Parks Canada in general and the mysterious Sable Island in particular.

After 15 hours at sea, the ship dropped anchor just off the foggy coast of Sable Island. With help from the Parks Canada team on the ship and on the shore, the RCN was able to successfully manage an oft-times tricky beach landing, and over the course of the morning, 65 people disembarked the ship to visit Sable Island, including the invited guests and the ship’s command team.

Sable Island NPR team members led a guided tour of the island, providing an opportunity to highlight Parks Canada’s operations in this remote and challenging offshore national park and offering visitors the chance to experience this wild and windswept island of sand and to become acquainted with its most famous inhabitants: the wild horses and seals. Departing from Sable Island, sailing through fog and surrounded by icebergs, en made it to St. John’s harbour in over 29 hours. All 233 people on-board received Parks Canada Discovery Passes to encourage them to continue to explore Parks Canada places both near and far.

Parks Canada has been building a collaborative relationship with the CAF at Sable Island National Park Reserve. This collaboration has focused on three key areas, including: search and rescue training opportunities for the CAF; emergency evacuation in support of Government of Canada team members, visitors and others on Sable Island; and the provision of expertise and direct support to Parks Canada for special projects.

Thank you to the Sable Island National Park Reserve team for their efforts in continuing to strengthen our relationship with the Royal Canadian Navy, showcasing the park to this group and sharing who we are and what we do at Parks Canada.