Cavendish mayor wants faster debris cleanup at P.E.I. National Park

·2 min read
The park was one of the hardest hit areas during post-tropical storm Dorian in 2019 losing about 80 per cent of its trees and sustaining two metres of coastal erosion. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)
The park was one of the hardest hit areas during post-tropical storm Dorian in 2019 losing about 80 per cent of its trees and sustaining two metres of coastal erosion. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)

Parks Canada needs to put more effort into cleaning up the P.E.I. National Park at Cavendish, said Matthew Jelley, mayor of the Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish and North Rustico.

The park was one of the hardest hit areas during post-tropical storm Dorian in 2019 losing about 80 per cent of its trees and sustaining two metres of coastal erosion.

Since then, Parks Canada has made some restoration efforts, although its wildlife conservation goals have interfered with efforts to restore P.E.I. National Park's esthetic.

"A management decision has been made to leave some fallen trees and downed woody debris where they are to provide wildlife habitat and to facilitate the addition of nutrients to the soil as the trees decompose," Parks Canada officials said in a statement.

Seeing the fallen trees will help play a role in educating our visitors about the impacts of climate change. — Parks Canada

Jelley said this has left residents and councillors frustrated.

"People are certainly disheartened by the appearance, and that's the theme we're hearing," Jelley said.

"There is no shortage of frustration in this community and in tourism generally with the challenges we've all faced the past two years, and so the few types of things where we feel like we should have some control in cleaning up and getting our act together for when things return to normal."

Part of park history

Councillors have had several discussions with Parks Canada about removing the debris and speeding up cleaning efforts.

"We have expressed our concerns on where we are and that will continue. We tend to meet with Parks [Canada] leadership every three months or so," Jelley said.

The debris and dead trees should be left for educational and historical purposes, Parks Canada said in its statement.

"Seeing the fallen trees will help play a role in educating our visitors about the impacts of climate change and also ecological health of our forests," the statement said.

"The addition of interpretive panels alongside fallen trees in the Cavendish area will help educate park users about the appearance of some wooded areas and the impacts of the storm, adding to their overall learning experience while in P.E.I. National Park."

Parks Canada said it has been working on a four-year restoration plan, and 1,000 trees have been planted since.

Jelley said community members and councillors can individually let Parks Canada know their feelings.

"It's a matter of hearing those different views and holding Parks Canada accountable to be good community members and to make sure everybody fully understands what the road map looks like."

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