National Parks reopen, but with reduced amenities and services
ALMA, N.B. -- Fundy National Park opened for the season on Monday, and no one is watching more closely, than people in the nearby village of Alma.
"We have a population in Alma of just over 200 people who are year-round residents and we see an excess of 300,000 tourists in the run of a season," said bakery owner Angela Elliott.
No one is expecting a routine tourist season, but the business community hopes to see fewer closed signs in the national park. The golf course is still closed, as are some of the trails, but most importantly, the campgrounds are not open.
"If we could get the campgrounds open, that's what really fills up the businesses in the village of Alma," said restaurant and motel owner Andrew Casey.
Other Maritime communities are also marking Monday's milestone in this pandemic year.
Like Alma, Ingonish and Cheticamp rely on visitors to neighbouring Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The Highlands also reopened for day-use such as the popular hiking trails.
All Cabot Trail lookouts throughout the park are also open.
Staff at Fundy says camping will not be available for at least three weeks. Reservations made for dates prior to June 21 have been cancelled and refunded.
"If the campgrounds aren't open, we'll be going with a skeleton staff," said Casey."When the campgrounds open, we can ramp up and have more of our traditional employees."
No one was available at Fundy National park to speak with CTV on Monday about the park's plans for this summer, though many are concerned about what's at stake.
"We have local people here who rely on having their jobs," Elliott said. "This is what's paying their bills and supporting their families and without our little business that's only seasonal being open, those people don't have an income for their families."
The businesses that depend on Fundy National Park are waiting for definitive word on when the rest of the services will be made available.
The outcome, they say, will make or break what's left of their tourism season.