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Water Today Title September 20, 2019

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Feature

Update 2019/6/28
Holiday water report 2019


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HOLIDAY WATER 2019 - PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND NATIONAL PARK


By Suzanne Forcese

It's the only National Park in Prince Edward Island but Water Today was wowed. Here is a snapshot.

Situated on the north shore of Prince Edward Island and fronting the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the 5,440 acres of PEI's National Park spans a spectacular stretch of land encompassing sand dunes, salt marshes, remnants of an Acadian forest, coastal headlands, beaches and sandstone cliffs. The setting was inspirational enough for Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and stunning enough for an oil tycoon to build an elegant Victoria home, now a posh resort, and historical site, Dalvey by the Sea.

Discover the stunning beauty of the Island's North Shore on the 7 supervised beaches and over 50 km of hiking and cycling trails. Enjoy daily learning programs for all ages and learn about island culture through music and stories around an evening campfire.

In 1998, 6 sq. km of Greenwich Peninsula were added to the Park to protect unique dune formations, rare plants and animals as well as archaeological findings dating back 10,000 years. The largest sand dunes on PEI tower above white-sand beaches to create a stunning backdrop for one of Atlantic Canadas top trail systems. The learning centre's floor model and multi-media theatre showcase how nature and 10,000 years of settlement have made Greenwich a must-see destination.

Experience PEI's stunning North Shore. Relax, swim and play on the beaches for an active and adventure filled day. Conquer the Robinson's Trail System. Cycle the Gulf Shore Way in a coastal Cruiser on a paved two-way trail or hike one of the multi-use trails. For an authentic glamping experience, try the oTENTik. If you are a purist, take advantage of the warm summer nights by pitching a tent. Or park your RV at Stanhope or Cavendish Campground and enjoy recent renovations and a wide variety of amenities The parks ecosystems support a wide variety of animal species and 400 different species of plants. Although no deer or moose roam the island, coyotes, red foxes, racoons, beavers, mink and weasels are common. With more than 300 species of birds including the endangered piping plover the park plays a significant role in shorebird migration in spring and fall. Park officials will close certain areas when the birds are nesting.

There is a $175 fine for violating the closures. Signs are posted but please check the Parks Canada website for up-to-date bulletins.

The park is divided into 3 regions (Cavendish-North Rustico, Brackley Dalvay and Greenwich) which are separated by bays and not directly connected by highways. Summer is the most popular time to visit. Spring and fall offer excellent biking, hiking and birdwatching.

Camping is the best way to truly experience and appreciate the natural beauty of white sand beaches, coastal wetlands and over 50 km of trails, interpretive programs, and special events Cavendish Campground features over 200 sites and an exclusive supervised white sand beach. Recreational activities abound, including the 8 km Homestead Trail suitable for hiking and cycling. The campground offers flush toilets, a laundromat, kitchen shelters, and Potable Water.

Stanhope Campgroundis quiet and picturesque and features over 100 sites. The campground is located along the recently developed Gulf Shore Way, a 10 km multi-use trail ideal for cycling, inline skating or walking and is a short walk from Stanhope Beach. The campground offers accessible sites, washroom facilities with hot showers and flush toilets, a laundromat and kitchen shelters. Potable Water is on site. Inquire at the campground kiosk about the beach wheelchair than can be used at Stanhope Beach.

Ready to build some waterfront property? Join renowned sand sculptor and art teacher Maurice Bernard to learn the tricks of the trade for building spectacular structures in the sand.

Golfing at the Geen Gables Golf Course provides the best views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Cavendish Hills. Designed by Canadian golf course architect Stanley Thompson, it stretches between sand dunes at Cavendish Beach and the former farm fields surrounding Green Gables Heritage Place.

There are opportunities to explore the park by kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard on various ponds a well as in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Motorized watercraft are not permitted within the national park waterbodies.

Parks Canada Officials remind us that Prince Edward Island National Park is maintained from Victoria Day Long Weekend in May until Thanksgiving. You are still welcome to hike and bike the trails in the off-season however there is no emergency response provided by Parks Canada during that time.

Even though PEI has only one National Park it remains the crowning glory of this small Atlantic province. Do enjoy!

suzanne.f@watertoday.ca
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