Parks Canada officials say firefighters have contained a three hectare blaze in Cape Breton Highlands National Park near Neil’s Harbour. The Cabot Trail had been temporarily closed due to the forest fire, but was re-opened to two lanes last night.
The fire was about one kilometre south of Buchanan Memorial Hospital; and three patients were evacuated yesterday afternoon as a precuation.
Parks Canada received help in fighting the fire from the Department of Natural Resources, volunteer fire departments and the Victoria County Emergency Measures Co-ordinator.
The fire was reported shortly before three yesterday afternoon. It was caused by a tree falling on a power line, triggering a temporary power outage in the area.
Parks Canada is holding off on a prescribed burn that was scheduled to begin last week due to adverse conditions.
The plan was to conduct a prescribed fire North of Ingonish, in the Warren Lake area that was expected to last two or three days.
A release from Parks Canada stated fire crew was on scene May 14 to prepare the site and then conducted a test fire on May 15. The release goes on to say moisture in the ground prevented penetration of the fire into the topsoil, which means Parks Canada would not have been able to achieve its ecological objectives in promoting the germination of red oak and white pine.
Anne-Claude Pepin, a resource management officer for Parks Canada, said it is too early to tell when or if they will try again.
Thee trails and roads near Warren Lake are expected to re-open in the next few days.
As part of Cape Breton Highlands National Park’s conservation and restoration efforts, Parks Canada is planning to conduct a prescribed fire North of Ingonish, in the Warren Lake area. Parks Canada says the fire will start this evening and tomorrow, weather permitting. The fire is expected to last two or three days.
Anne-Claude Pepin, a resource management officer for Parks Canada, says the prescribed burn is intended to help regenerate white pine and red oak. Pepin said both species of tree are rare in the park and are known to do well with fire.
Pepin said it is the third prescribed fire in the national park.
Fire management specialists and firefighters from Parks Canada will be on-site during the fire and local volunteer fire departments have been notified. The Cabot Trail and Cape Breton Highlands National Park will remain open to the public but access to the Broad Cove Mountain Trail, Warren Lake Trail, Warren Lake Road, and Mary Ann Falls Road will be closed prior to and during the prescribed fire.
Over the next 2 weeks, you may notice an increased military presence throughout Cape Breton Island. That’s because approximately 500 personnel from the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force will participate in Exercise NIHILO SAPPER.
Participants will complete community driven infrastructure upgrade projects, trail construction and remediation projects, and two bridge construction projects. One of the training exercises takes place in the Cape Breton Highlands national park, where military engineers will need to build a bridge on the Warren Lake Trail in collaboration with Parks Canada.
The exercise provides hands-on technical training to regular and reserve force military engineers serving in Atlantic Canada and ensures they are ready to deploy on Canadian Armed Forces operations on short notice
Parks Canada is looking for an artist to live and work 4 to 6 weeks in Cape Breton Highlands National Park this fall. In collaboration with the Cape Breton Centre
Warren Lake at Cape Breton Highlands National Park (from the Parks Canada web site)
for Craft and Design, the federal agency is bringing an artist in residence program to the National Park. It’s an opportunity to develop new projects or to work on existing ones within quiet, natural surroundings. The artist will also share their work and the artistic process with local residents and visitors to the park.
It is open to Canadian and international professional artists working in any medium with an established exhibition history. The artist selected will live and work in a three bedroom house in Ingonish during the residency.
Parks Canada officials are pleased with efforts to restore the boreal forest to part of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It includes planting more than 57,000 seedlings along the Skyline Trail. Parks Canada calls its initiative Bring Back the Boreal Project. Derek Quann, the project leader, says parts of the park have faced particular challenges in recent decades.
Part of the project includes protective fencing around the seedlings, and monitoring to determine which trees and planting methods result in the best tree growth. A video highlighting the work so far has been produced. It can be found on YouTube and the Bring Back the Boreal project web site. A link to the web site can be found here: http://pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ns/cbreton/info/foret-forest/impliquez-involved
A Port Hood contractor has won a tender in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The $1.15 million contract to Zutphen Contractors Incorporated is for stabilization of rock cuts along North Mountain. It is the third of a multi-phase project by Parks Canada to stabilize rock slopes along the Cabot Trail.
Zutphen Contractors will be operating under a tight time line. Parks Canada says work must be completed by August 11th.
A drive around the Cape Breton Highlands will show what 42.5 million dollars of work will do in one year. That’s how much was invested in infrastructure alone, meaning fixes to roads, bridges, culverts and shoulders.
Kelly Deveaux, Visitor Experience Manager for Cape Breton Highlands National Park says there are 12 projects for the parks in 2017 totalling 66 million dollars. Deveaux expects a busy year with the combination of roadwork and Canada 150 celebrations.
Many events are being planned for the National Parks to help celebrate the anniversary.
Deveaux encourages people to get their free National Parks Pass. Not only will it help keep track of numbers, but it will reduce wait times during the construction season.