Natural Areas

While most of Prince Edward Island has been heavily impacted by human activities, there are scattered areas across the province that still contain special ecological features. Many of these special areas have been designated as Natural Areas under the Natural Areas Protection Act (NAPA).

What are Natural Areas?

Natural Areas include both public and private lands and may cover an entire property or just a specific area within a property. Sites designated as Natural Areas may include those with rare or uncommon plant species, unique geological features, special habitats or habitats that are ecologically fragile and therefore, require additional protection.

How are Natural Areas Designated?

When properties,or portions of properties, are proposed for designation under NAPA, management plans are prepared and the public and interested groups are asked to provide comments. Management plans for properties currently under consideration can be accessed at Current NAPA Consultations.

Natural Areas Signage

Natural Area property sign with ladyslipper emblem

The Natural Areas sign incorporates the Lady's Slipper -  PEI's floral emblem. While the Lady's Slipper is a forest plant, natural areas also include wetlands, sand dunes and other special and unique ecological treasures.  

How much of PEI is classified as Natural Areas?

As of January 2018, PEI has some 9,423 ha classified as protected Natural Areas under the Act.  About 1/4 of these lands are owned and managed by individuals and by private organizations such as the Island Nature Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (PEI) Inc with 1461 ha and 446 ha designated respectively.  

Are these areas protected from all future development?

Yes. The NAPA process registers a restricted covenant on the property. 

When a Public Land property is proposed for designation under NAPA, the Province will hold a public information and consultation session to provide information and gain public input.

For information on properties under consideration for designation, visit NAPA Consultations.

Can I Visit Natural Areas?

Natural Areas on public lands are open to the public but visitors are reminded to respect the sensitive nature of these sites. Some Natural Areas have walking trails that allow visitors to enjoy the natural setting without impacting the sensitive nature of the site.

These properties include:

Natural Areas With Walking Trails
Natural Area Community Special Features
Boughton River Riparian Zone Dundas Forested riparian zone along the Boughton River in eastern PEI
Royalty Oaks Charlottetown Remnant stand of Mature Red Oak
Beach Grove Memorial Forest Charlottetown Acadian Forest upland type Maple/Beech/Birch
Strathgartney Woodlands Strathgartney Acadian Forest upland type with Beech/Maple 
Trout River Riparian Zone Coleman Forested riparian zone along the Trout River in western PEI
Natural Areas with Lookout Locations
Natural Area Community Special Features
Basin Head Sand Dunes Basin Head off Rte #16 Coastal dune system featuring unique white sands and nearby protected marine area
Docs Marsh/Forest Hills Forest Hills off Rte #327 Freshwater pond ecosystem
Fullertons Marsh Stratford use walking trails at Reeves Estates Freshwater impoundment 
Indian River Wetlands Indian River off Rte #106 Major staging area for migratory birds 
Ellerslie Bog Ellerslie off Confederation Trail Freshwater bog ecosystem
Acadian Marshes - Percival River Portage off Confederation Trail Unique salt Marsh estuary system in western PEI
Natural Areas that can be canoed or kayaked
Docs Marsh Forest Hills off Rte #327 Freshwater pond ecosystem
Larkins Pond Selkirk off Rte #357 Freshwater impoundment
Desroches Pond Blooming Pt off Rte #218 Coastal pond ecosystem
Indian River Wetlands Indian River off Rte #106 Freshwater impoundment



Published date: 
February 20, 2019
Environment, Energy and Climate Action

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