Keji Seaside closing until new year to repair hurricane damage

Looking across rocks and a beach at the ocean on a sunny day in Nova Scotia.
One of the many views along the trails at Kejimkujik Seaside Park. Photo courtesy of Parks Canada.
Ed Halverson - QCCR/CJQC - LiverpoolNS | 19-10-2021

Anyone looking to enjoy the fall colours at Keji Seaside will be sadly disappointed.

Kejimkujik National Park Seaside will be closed starting Wednesday, Oct. 20 to repair damage the park suffered during Hurricane Dorian.

Site Superintendent Jonathan Sheppard says extensive trail washouts and coastal erosion from the 2019 storm has forced Parks Canada to close off the Port Joli Head Trail since it hit.

“For us, it just really bought into clear picture the challenges that we face with coastal infrastructure in a time of increased, both frequency and also, intensity, of storms,” said Sheppard.

Kejimkujik received just over $1 million dollars in federal funding last year to help rebuild parts of the inland park and the seaside.

Sheppard estimates the number of visitors to Keji Seaside at between 15,000-20,000 thousand every year.

He says waiting until after the main tourist season had ended to begin work made sense to lessen the impact on visitors.

It also gave the park time to develop a plan that didn’t just rebuild what was already in place but one that also considers the impact climate changes will have on the visitor experience in years to come.

“We’re not just filling the potholes and putting like with like,” said Sheppard. “We are really looking at what it means to build a climate resilient trail network in a coastal area.”

Sheppard says parts of the trail will be moved further inland to avoid erosion, the routing will shift to avoid some hills, making it more accessible and some areas will be reinforced with rock to keep the trail from being washed away by storms.

This is not the first time part of Kejimkujik has been closed for repair in recent years.

Jeremy’s Bay Campground in the inland park was shut for all of 2020 to refresh facilities and infrastructure that had been used since the 1970s.

Sheppard says during that shut-down, Kejimkujik staff learned it was easier and safer to complete large-scale renovations without visitors around.

Sheppard expects work on Keji Seaside to wrap up near the end of December.

Visitors will once again be welcome to walk the trails and explore the coast early in the new year.

Twitter: @edwardhalverson

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