Kouchibouguac National Park has started welcoming campers once again — and on time, despite the damage caused by a January ice storm that pummelled the province.
While Kouchibouguac wasn’t hit as hard as more northeastern parts of the province, park crews did have a substantial amount to clean up.
“The ice storm last January damaged many trees, which created a lot of debris on trails, roads, parking lots and campgrounds,” said Jérôme Lussier, the visitor experience manager at the park.
The campground opened Friday, following the eastern New Brunswick park’s tradition of launching the season on the Victoria Day weekend.
The public will be able to use most trails, with the exception of three hiking trails and one dual hiking-biking trail, where biking will not be allowed.
“We encourage visitors maybe to call ahead, just to find out which trails [are open,]” said Lussier.
While most features of the park are open this weekend, Lussier said some cosmetic damage will still be evident.
“Visitors can expect debris here and there throughout the park,” said Lussier.
“It’s easy to forget how big that storm was back in January, but as soon as you come close to the park itself you can definitely see so many trees that have fallen.”
Luckily for Kouchibouguac, the park infrastructure survived the storm relatively unscathed.
No damage was done to buildings or oTENTiks, which Parks Canada describes as a cross between a tent and a rustic cabin, with room enough for six.
“So it’s really debris and work needed to clean up the campgrounds and the trails,” said Lussier.
National parks across Canada are offering free admittance all year in celebration of Canada 150.