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Water Today Title October 25, 2021

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Update 2019/6/28
Holiday water report 2019

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By Suzanne Forcese

To experience the power of the sea, rugged coastlines, white sandy beaches and a magical night sky in a Designated Dark Sky Preserve, WateToday headed to Nova Scotia, explored two National Parks and a remote protected island National Reserve. Here's what we found.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Located on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island, this impressive 949 sq. km national park featuring the Atlantic Ocean, tall cliffs, deep canyons, mountains and forests, is a popular recreational area. Several saltwater beaches, 2 freshwater beaches, an 18 hole golf course, hiking trails are just part of the package. Many species of wildlife live in the Park, including black bear, lynx, beaver, red fox, moose, and racoon. Numerous bird species like the bald eagle, hawk and kestrel can be seen as well as several species of reptiles. Marine life in the offshore waters of the park's many rivers includes species of whales, dolphins, and seals.

The Cabot Trail Scenic Highway offers sweeping ocean views lining the craggy coastline as it winds through Cape Breton Highlands National Park where lush forested river canyons sculpt the ancient plateau flanked by rust colored cliffs. The cool maritime weather and rugged landscape foster a unique blend of Acadian, Boreal and Taiga habitats for plants and animals unique to this region of Canada. Several dozen species of rare threatened plants and animals, old growth forests of international importance, as well as small populations of arctic-alpine plants - remnants of the last ice age -- add to the magic. Numerous viewpoints along the Cabot Trail allow visitors ample opportunity to pull safely off the road.

One of the best ways to enjoy the Park experience is hiking the 26 trails ranging from easy strolls to challenging climbs all leading to panoramic views of canyons, highlands, or sea coasts.

Parks Canada Staff are happy to launch an itinerary for you. Stop in at the Ingonish Visitor Centre and check out the interactive map and perhaps buy a souvenir.

For the cycling enthusiast the Cabot Trail is 'de rigueur'. For those who want to sleep under the stars without the fuss, Parks Canada offers equipped camping, oTENTiks (calling all glampers!) and backcountry camping for the more adventurous.

Cheticamp Campground nestled in the Cheticamp River Valley between the river and the mountains provides easy access to 4 of the 26 hiking trails, offers wooded and open campsites as well as showers, flush toilets, kitchen shelters, fire pits, a playground, interpretive programs, geo-coaching. A nearby visitor centre offers a nature bookstore and coffee. It's a short drive to beaches. Bring your own water. 122 campsites, 10 oTENTiks.

Broad Cove Campground is an ideal beach getaway close to Ingonish and situated in a forest. Framed by a long sandy beach, world class hiking, and evening activities there are 202 sites 6 oTENTiks, showers, toilets geo-coaching, interpretive programs, outdoor theatre, swimming in the ocean. Bring your own water.

Ingonish Beach Campground with 60 sites, 4 oTENTiks is a 10 min walk to the beach with ocean and freshwater swimming. Hiking, tennis courts, soccer, a playground and Highlands Links golf are all nearby. Showers and toilets. Bring your own water.

Corney Brook Campground is a very small Oceanside campground with 22 un-serviced sites NO Potable water on site. There is one washroom building with flush toilets. Hiking and ocean swimming are nearby.

MacIntosh Brook Camp Ground located in the Grand Anse Valley is a small open area nestled at the base of the mountains. There are only 10 un-serviced sites with a large kitchen shelter, playground, flush toilets and a hiking trail. Bring your own water.

Big Intervale Camp Ground Located at the base of North Mountain, 10 km from Cape North has 5 sites un-serviced, pit privies and a hiking trail. No potable water.

Fishing Cove Backcountry Campground has 8 un-serviced sites, no fireplace, no potable water Fishing Cove Backcountry area is 6 km one -way hike down to the rugged coastline at the base of Mackenzie Mountain. A grassy hillside, cobblestone beach and river compliment this camping spot. Campers are required to register for a backcountry permit.

Kejimkujik National Park

Paddle, hike, camp, connect with nature and Mi'kmaq culture. In the southwest of the Nova Scotia peninsula there are two separate land areas - an in-land part which is coincident with Kejimkujik National Historic Site of Canada and the Kejimkujik National Park Seaside. “Keji” as it's referred to by locals, is the place to get away from it all with its lush forests, meandering rivers and island- dotted lake.

Meaning "the land where fairies abound" the park took its name from the Mi'kmaq Kejimkujik Lake, a traditional waterway and canoe route to the Bay of Fundy and Atlantic coast where Parks Canada interpreters can take you on a guided tour to see petroglyphs etched into the rocks.

Canoeing and Kayaking follow the same routes once taken by the Archaic Indians, Woodland Indians and Mi'kmaq. These are the same rivers and lakes that Albert Bigelow Paine travelled and described in his famous 1908 book, The Tent Dwellers.

Hikers will love the Park's 15 day- hiking trails that cut through a wide range of forest including Acadian Forests, red maple floodplains, windswept pine trees and old growth hemlocks. Trails are open throughout the year giving lots of opportunities to spot deer, fox and the endangered Blanding's Turtle.

Kejimkujik Seaside is only 9 km from the Park's in-land region where you will see coastal barrens –dwarf Acadian forests of maple ,spruce, and fir. Mossy bogs, white-fringed orchids, and sweet gale add to the experience as you hike Harbor Rocks Trail. Eiders and cormorants flock offshore. Harbour and grey seals can be seen basking in the sun.

Jeremy's Bay Campground offers sites with electricity, un-service sites and oTentiks. Included are washrooms, hot showers, outdoor sinks, playgrounds limited wifi, trails and beaches all within a lush Acadian forest near the shoreline of Kejimkujik Lake. The Tuck shoppe offers ice cream, slushies and drinks.

Playgrounds, amphitheatre, Sky Circle and Fire Circle for a guided campfire program with one of the interpreters and even internet access are part of the package.

Yurt Camping - a modernized version of a traditional circular dwelling equipped with bunk bed (no mattress, a futon with a mattress, table and chairs, woodstove and picnic table) is situated on the Mersey River. Rustic cabins built in the style of local trapper cabins of the early 20th century are set in various locations on the shores of Keji Lake to the bank of the Mersey River. Bunk beds (no mattresses), table, chairs, woodstove, food prep area, and picnic table are included. For more details and reservations go to the Parks Canada website.

NOTE: In an effort to control the spread of invasive species, bringing in firewood from outside the park is prohibited. Firewood is available for purchase at the Campground Kiosk and at the Visitor Centre.

Jim Charles Point Group Campground is available for youth groups and family groups( min 8 max 80 )Tenting only facility with a large grassy common area, a group campfire circle. Close by at lakeshore is Kedge Beach. In an effort to control the spread of invasive species bringing in firewood from the outside is prohibited. Food storage lockers (bring your own lock) and picnic tables are here. 4 season drinking water tap, flush toilets and hand washing basins and several pit privies.

Sable Island National Park Reserve

Sable Island with its long history of shipwrecks, also known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”, is 300 km southeast of Halifx and about 175 km southeast of the closest point of mainland Nova Scotia. Protected under the National Parks Act, visiting the island requires permission from Parks Canada. The island is also protected against oil and natural gas drilling.

On this wild and windswept island of sand, plants, birds and insects-- found nowhere else in Canada-- have adapted to the harsh life here. The reserve serves as a breeding area for gray and harbor seals as well as bird colonies.

Over 550 Sable Island ponies roam here and are protected from human interference. The feral horse population is likely descended from horses confiscated from Acadians during the Great Expulsion and left on the island by Thomas Hancock, Boston merchant and uncle of John Hancock. In the past, excess horses were rounded up, shipped off the island and sold to be used in coal mines. In 1960 the Government, under the Canada Shipping Act, gave the horses full protection from human interference.

As a visitor you must be self-reliant and responsible for your own safety. Be prepared for weather delays accessing or departing the island. Visitors are responsible to make their own transportation, arriving either by air charter or come ashore from private vessels that are anchored offshore. All visitors are required to register in advance of their trip. Visitor season is June to the end of October. There is NO WATER AVAILABLE

You got it, Nova Scotia! This land is your land…Come enjoy your heritage!

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