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Media statement — Illegal Occupation of Kouchibouguac National Park

UPDATED — April 1, 2022 — Parks Canada acknowledges that the past practice of expropriation in the establishment of national parks and national historic sites greatly affected many families and individuals. The families and communities of what is now Kouchibouguac National Park, remain an important part of the history of this region of Canada.

Kouchibouguac National Park values its longstanding relationships with the Mi’gmaq, Acadian groups and communities. Parks Canada will continue to collaborate with all these valued partners in the protection of natural and cultural resources, economic development, and public outreach, cultural awareness and education.

The La Forest-Roy Report (Report on the Special Inquiry on Kouchibouguac National Park), published in 1981, acknowledged that while Mr. John (Jackie) Vautour was not abiding by a court order to cease his occupation of Kouchibouguac National Park, Parks Canada could allow his presence on the land in the national park on sufferance, provided he stayed within the law in other respects and did not use the site as a base for action against the park.

Additionally, Mr. Vautour signed an agreement in 1987 with the Province of New Brunswick to leave the property in the national park. The compensation included 110 acres of land outside of Kouchibouguac National Park and a payment of $228,000 (which would be equivalent to approximately $480,000 in today’s dollars). Mr. Vautour accepted the money and the land and signed the agreement, but refused to leave the park. The provision to remain, albeit unlawfully, in the national park applied to Mr. Vautour only and not to other members of the extended Vautour family.

With Mr. Vautour’s passing, this arrangement is also at an end, and it is now time to bring the illegal occupation in the national park to a close. Parks Canada has offered to work with the Vautour family to help transition their belongings and structures to a desired location outside of the national park. While this offer still stands, so far, it has been declined. 

Parks Canada identified March 31, 2022 as the deadline for the Vautour family to remove their belongings from the national park. With the deadline now passed, Parks Canada will take the necessary steps – at an appropriate and safe time – to bring a conclusion to the illegal occupation of Kouchibouguac National Park.

Regarding recent court cases, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal has upheld an earlier court decision to dismiss the Vautour portion of the claim seeking Indigenous title and rights to Kouchibouguac National Park.

The Vautours have no cases currently before the courts concerning this illegal occupation.

The safety of visitors, team members and the community is of the utmost importance for Parks Canada. It is Parks Canada's desire that the occupation comes to a peaceful conclusion.

Loggiecroft Road closure in Kouchibouguac National Park

KOUCHIBOUGUAC, NB, January 10, 2022 – In response to the ongoing issue of visitors feeding wildlife at the Loggiecroft wharf area and the associated safety risks to both humans and animals, Parks Canada is temporarily closing the Loggiecroft Road in Kouchibouguac National Park.

The road will be closed from January 10 to March 31. Parks Canada is carefully monitoring the situation and the closure will be re-assessed as deemed appropriate. Human and wildlife safety is of the utmost importance to Parks Canada. Parks Canada takes action to promote coexistence between people and wildlife, to ensure the well-being and safety of both.

Kouchibouguac National Park takes a wide range of actions to reduce conflict between people and wildlife. The park has been focusing its efforts on educating the public about protecting wildlife and staying safe, making sure that individuals follow rules and regulations, enforcing the laws that protect wildlife and the ecological integrity of our places, and ensure visitor safety.

Feeding, enticing, or disturbing any wildlife in a national park or historic site is illegal. Violators will be charged and could pay fines up to $25,000 under the Canada National Parks Act.

If you encounter visitors engaging in those activities, please report it immediately to Parks Canada staff, or call Parks Canada Dispatch at 1-877-852-3100.

May 17, 2021 — Media statement

Parks Canada recognizes that many families were greatly affected by expropriation when national historic sites and national parks were established in the past. Past events, and the former communities of Kouchibouguac National Park, remain an important part of the history of Parks Canada.

Following the publication of The Laforest-Roy Report (Report on the Special Inquiry on Kouchibouguac National Park), published in 1981, there was a recommendation that although it was acknowledged that Mr. John (Jackie) Vautour was not abiding by the court order at the time that Parks Canada could allow his presence on the land in the national park, provided he stayed within the law in other respects and did not use the site as a base for action against the park.

With Mr. Vautour’s passing, Parks Canada is bringing his occupancy within the park to a respectful and peaceful close.

Parks Canada has offered to meet with Mrs. Vautour to discuss how the Agency can assist with the removal of materials, personal items, and structures from the park. Parks Canada will provide assistance to do this if this could be helpful to the family. This offer still stands.

The Agency has respectfully requested that within a reasonable period of time the occupation be brought to a conclusion.

Regarding Mr. Augustine pursuing a court claim to Indigenous title to the park, Parks Canada will continue to follow normal court processes.

April 14, 2021 — Media statement

Parks Canada recognizes that many families were greatly affected by expropriation when national historic sites and national parks were established in the past. Past events, and the former communities of Kouchibouguac National Park, remain an important part of the history of Parks Canada.

The Agency is committed to ensuring that Canadians have opportunities to learn about the full scope of our shared history, including the difficult periods that are part of our past. Parks Canada's administered places strive to provide a comprehensive and balanced overview of Canada’s history which incorporates different perspectives, including Indigenous peoples and those of former residents displaced by expropriation.

Parks Canada is currently reviewing the Management Plan for Kouchibouguac National Park. Once finalized, this document will guide the Agency’s decisions and actions in protecting, presenting and operating the site over the next ten years. Public participation and consultation are essential tools that enable former residents, their families, individuals and groups to contribute to the vision that will guide the future management of the park. The Agency encourages all former residents, and those with ties to the communities once located in the park, to share what is important to them so their unique views can be incorporated into future management decisions.

With this in mind, Parks Canada continues to work with many groups to honour the past, while at the same time, looks to the future of Kouchibouguac National Park.

As the family has now publicly stated that Mrs. Vautour has moved to be with her family, the Agency has reached out to Mrs. Vautour to offer her any assistance during this difficult time with the loss of her husband and we have offered to relocate her belongings and structures to a desired location outside of the park. We have also offered assistance in securing a space, if desired, for her deceased husband to be buried in the cemetery that is located in the park.

Parks Canada's administered places – including Kouchibouguac National Park – are a source of shared pride for all Canadians. The Agency values its relationship with all former residents of the national park and is committed to collaborating with them on the protection of natural and cultural resources, economic development, and public outreach, cultural awareness and education.