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P.E.I. provincial parks impacted by Dorian storm surge, wind

The playground in Cedar Dunes Provincial Park in West Point became a swimming pool of sorts following Hurricane Dorian’s Saturday night storm surge. The situation has resulted in the park closing for the season one week earlier than originally scheduled.
The playground in Cedar Dunes Provincial Park in West Point became a swimming pool of sorts following post-tropical storm Dorian’s Saturday night storm surge. The situation has resulted in the park closing for the season one week earlier than originally scheduled. - Eric McCarthy

The post-tropical storm ended or altered the season for some parks; unknown when entire Confederation Trail will reopen

WEST POINT, P.E.I. —

Post-tropical storm Dorian has changed the closing date for some of Prince Edward Island’s provincial parks. 

Dorian’s heavy rain, strong winds and powerful storm surge inflicted a beating on several of its properties, said provincial parks manager Shane Arbing.

Jacques Cartier Provincial Park in Kildare, P.E.I., sustained considerable damage that has prompted Arbing to immediately close the facility for the season. 

“There’s a number of things to look at there, for sure,” said Arbing.

"It looks quite messy right now - a lot of trees down, a lot of debris all throughout the campground. Once we get that all tidied up, we’ll have a good look and we should be okay.”

Arbing said the storm surge moved rocks around from a retaining wall that was installed at the park a few years ago. Wave action caused erosion behind the big rocks.

In West Point, the rain and the waves flooded the Cedar Dunes Provincial Park campground and resulted in an immediate seasonal closure.

"It’s a lot of water," said Arbing.

He hopes there is no lasting impact at the Cedar Dunes facility.

“What people see right now at Cedar, that’s typically what we see most springs at Cedar. That’s not unusual for that site. It is unusual for this time of year, but that will dry out and we will see where we go from there," he said.

The department also closed Panmure Island Provincial Park and campground, on the eastern side of the Island, due to damaged trees and loss of electricity. 

All three parks had planned to remain open until Sept. 15.

Arbing said the two western parks bore the brunt of the storm, but several others were affected. 

The offset gates are hardly a barrier at all compared to the wall of toppled trees on the Confederation Trail off the Jerry Road in Bloomfield. Provincial Parks says there are similar barriers along the trail right across P.E.I.
The offset gates are hardly a barrier at all compared to the wall of toppled trees on the Confederation Trail off the Jerry Road in Bloomfield. Provincial Parks says there are similar barriers along the trail right across P.E.I.

Repair work was underway at Cabot Beach Provincial Park in hopes of having the campground reopened Sept. 12. The final day of the season there is Sept. 22. There was significant tree damage reported throughout the park and the day-use area is now closed to vehicular traffic for the remainder of the season.

Brudenell Provincial Park was scheduled to reopen Sept. 10. The season there runs until Oct 14.

Northumberland Provincial Park was scheduled to reopen Sept. 12 and will close for the season on Sept. 26.

Red Point Provincial Park and Linkletter Provincial Park campgrounds remained open after the storm. Their season closing dates are Sept. 22 and Sept. 29 respectively.

Provincial day-use parks in Argyle Shore, Basin Head, Bloomfield and Chelton Beach remain open. 

Arbing said staff will remain on to help with the cleanup at the affected parks and to assist with the eventual season closing of other facilities.

“There’s work to do.”

In the meantime, park personnel ask the public not to enter closed facilities. It will take considerable time for staff to address all safety issues the weather caused.

Storm clean-up of the Confederation Trail is underway. The linear park has incurred major damage, said Arbing.

It is undetermined when the entire trail will be open to foot traffic and cyclists again.

“There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of trees down across the province,” Arbing said. “(The clean-up) is going to be a huge job.”

Prince Edward Island National Park released an updated report Sept. 12 on the condition of its properties following Dorian’s visit.

National Park update (source: Prince Edward Island National Park):

  • Cavendish Campground will remain closed for the remainder of the year due to damage sustained during Hurricane Dorian;
  • Stanhope Campground is closed for the season, as per regular scheduled season end;
  • All trails at Green Gables Heritage Place will remain closed until safety assessments have been completed;
  • Trails in the Cavendish-North Rustico and Brackley-Dalvay sections of PEI National Park will remain closed until safety assessments have been completed;
  • Robinsons Island Road in Brackley, PEI National Park remains closed until further notice;
  • The Greenwich Interpretive Centre will close for the season on Thursday, September 12, 2019, as planned.

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