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It’s Illegal to Visit This Island in the Atlantic Ocean Without Permission, Here’s Why

Sable Island | Courtesy of Claire Parsons
Picture of Kate Horodyski
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Ask any local to describe Nova Scotia’s Sable Island, and they’ll instantly call to mind images of isolated sandy shores, sharp winds, and the famous Sable Island horses. Not that they’ve seen it though.

These visions of Sable Island are all conjured up from what locals have heard and seen in photos. Up until recently, only a handful of people had ever been to the island, but that may change in the next few years.

Wild Horses of Sable Island
Courtesy of Claire Parsons

In 2013, Sable Island was named a National Park and came under the care of Parks Canada (the Canadian Coast Guard managed it before). Once it received Park status, it opened up to the public, but restrictions were put in place to protect the island’s natural environment. Tourism to the island could easily disrupt its flora and fauna, and the government wants to ensure that it is properly protected and preserved. If you want to visit, you need to register with Parks Canada and include your reason for visiting, the name of each visitor, and your mode of transportation.

Sable Island
Courtesy of Claire Parsons

Registration isn’t the only hurdle to visiting; given that the only way to reach the island is by boat or plane, transportation doesn’t come cheap. To go by air, you’ll need to charter a plane, which will run you around $6,000 for five passengers. Going with a cruise expedition can cost anywhere from $2,000–10,000 per person.

Grey Seals on Sable Island
Courtesy of Claire Parsons

Despite the obstacles, visitors return with amazing stories from their experience and claim that it was worth every penny. The untouched beauty of the island seems to have a way of leaving its mark on all who venture onto its shores.

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