© Parks Canada / Thierry Boyer
The Government of Canada has announced HMS Terror has been added to the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site, ensuring additional legal protection for the wreck site under the Canada National Parks Act.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, and the Chair of the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee, Fred Pedersen, announced the additional protection for HMS Terror on December 15, 2017. The inclusion of HMS Terror in the national historic site was done based on the recommendation of the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee.
HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were the two vessels of the 1845 Franklin Expedition to locate the Northwest Passage. The location of the ships had been a mystery for over 150 years, but Inuit knowledge provided information that helped search teams locate the wreck of HMS Erebus in 2014 and HMS Terror in 2016.
The amendment to the National Historic Sites of Canada Order under the Canada National Parks Act announced today will legally protect the wreck of HMS Terror, the 57.8-square-kilometre surrounding wreck site, the water column around the ship and any artifacts in the protected area. The wreck of HMS Erebus was added to the National Historic Sites of Canada Order and accorded these same protections in 2014.
“The Government of Canada is committed to the protection of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and to sharing the incredible story of the Franklin Expedition and the important role of Inuit of Nunavut with Canadians and the world. Adding HMS Terror to the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site will ensure the legal protection of the wreck and its artifacts, now and for future generations. We will continue to work in partnership with Inuit of Nunavut on the long-term protection, presentation and management of these fabled wrecks," said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.
Parks Canada and the Government of Nunavut work closely with a number of partners including the RCMP, the Department of National Defence, Transport Canada, the Canadian Space Agency, and the Canadian Coast Guard to closely monitor the wreck sites and to ensure their protection. Along with the additional legal safeguards for the wreck site of HMS Terror, Parks Canada is working with the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee to develop an Inuit Guardians Program to ensure the protection and presentation of the two vessels. In 2017, Inuit Guardians were posted at both wreck sites during the ice-free season to monitor the protected area and to report any unauthorized vessel traffic.
Eventually, the Guardians will play a key role in hosting visitors to the wreck sites of HMS Erebusand HMS Terror. Inuit rights under the Nunavut Agreement are recognized and will continue to be exercised within the national historic site.
The sites of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror are not open to the public at this time and a permit is required to enter the protected areas; however, Parks Canada and the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee are working to develop visitor experience activities that support the long-term protection of both wreck sites.
—Via Parks Canada/Government of Canada