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Despite 2,000 tree loss, Mactaquac Provincial Park bouncing back and ready to host Family Day crowd

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Mactaquac Provincial Park is gearing up to host a number of Family Day activities Monday, its first big event since a wind storm took out over 2,000 trees just before Christmas.

The park’s manager says staff have been working hard to clean-up what was lost, while keeping the skating ponds, trails, ski and sledding hills open for the public to use.

“Such an important resource for people to get out and exercise and enjoy the outdoors and so we feel that’s on us to maintain the park in a fashion that is safe for everybody,” said Kevin McWhirter.

The year-round park is about 1,500 acres of forest, campgrounds and a golf course, with fat bike, ski, snowshoe and tube rentals.

McWhirter says the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more popular for people wanting to get outside and exercise.

He called the impact of the wind storm devastating.

“It's going to take decades to recover. Just, you know, the types of trees that we lost where we had some old growth fir that were beautiful trees that you could barely get your arms around. And we'll never see those again because, you know, with climate change they're phasing out,” he said. “Something else will come in but it's going to take a while. But in terms of the public coming in and our clients and enjoying it, I feel like we've got a good grip on it now.”

He said the park has seen a busy winter season so far – and he hopes lots of people come out and enjoy the Family Day activities planned.

“Our partners Big Axe Brewery will be here and Entity 59 the smoker is going to be here and we're going to be having bannock and hot chocolate and of course everybody's welcome to come out and slide on the sliding hill and skate on the forest trail and the skating ponds,” he said.

The forest skate was a new addition to the park last year, a 900-metre ice trail through the forest, something that took over two years to be realized.

Family day activities are planned for Monday afternoon.

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