Park visitors surprised to find Keji closed for the season
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2012 6:52PM AST
The federal cutbacks to national parks announced earlier this year have now kicked in and they are affecting one popular Maritime park in particular.
Those who use Nova Scotia’s Kejimkujik National Park year-round were surprised to find the park closed for the winter in November, when the weather is anything but wintry this year.
Thousands of people typically flock to the park, also known as ‘Keji,’ throughout the year, but not this year.
The park’s main road closed at the first of the month.
“I’m paying for it and not just my parking pass, but it’s our parks,” says Jan Mudle, who lives just a few minutes from the park.
“It’s all Canadian parks, and yet there’s some bureaucrats telling us you can’t use it.”
There is nothing to stop people from walking into the park – visitors are invited to make the nine-kilometre trek on foot – but the issue is maintaining the road through the site during the winter months.
However, temperatures reached 21 degrees Tuesday.
“It’s not always 21 degrees down there at this time of the year, and the problem is often during the morning,” says Eric Le Bel of Parks Canada. “We have frost, frosting conditions on the road, so it makes it dangerous at times.”
Twelve employees are still working at Keji, but the superintendent says they don’t have the proper training to maintain the road.
The Mudles are among 5,600 people who have signed a petition to gain access to the park year-round.
“This year when the budget cuts came out for Parks Canada, it sort of hit home that it was actually going to close this winter, and I didn’t think it was acceptable,” says park visitor Kathy Perrier, who started the petition.
The Mudles don’t think it’s acceptable either, saying the nine-kilometre walk to get inside is frustrating.
They hope things will change next year.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell