Nova Scotia

Most Cape Breton Highland National Park trails closed

Backcountry and trails at Cape Breton Highland National Park will be closed until further notice with the exception of Skyline Trail and Warren Lake Beach.

Skyline Trail and Warren Lake Beach still open, park monitoring conditions

The Skyline Trail is the only trail open at Cape Breton Highlands National Park. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

Backcountry and most trails at Cape Breton Highland National Park will be closed until further notice.

There are also partial fire bans throughout the park. No open fires are permitted between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

"We have severe weather conditions right now. It is really dry. Not as dry as mainland Nova Scotia but it is severe enough to take special measures," said Eric LeBel, superintendent of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Reducing risks of more wildfires

The closures and partial fire bans are because of Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources travel restrictions to help reduce the risk of wildfires across Nova Scotia.

On Sunday the 395-hectare wildfire at Seven Mile Lake near Kekimkujik National that has been burning since Aug. 4 was 70 per cent contained.

Barricades have been set up at around the entrance of the closed trails and a park warden is on site to make sure people don't venture off into restricted zones.

'People start 99% of fires'

"People start 99 per cent of the fires. If the people aren't in the woods, then they're not going to start the fires," said Jim Rudderham, Nova Scotia's operations manager for forest protection.

LeBel said visitor safety and supporting the province is important in light of the dry conditions.

"[The province's] energy is now concentrated in the south and I'm sure they would not like to be having to deal with more fires in the province," he said.

Skyline Trail still open

The Skyline Trail and Warren Lake Beach are still open. 

"It is the only trail open right now in the park. We have day-use area open, we have beaches open. But as for trails, Skyline is the only one. We increased the number of staff on the site just to ensure visitor safety," said LeBel.

LeBel said most visitors have been understanding about the restrictions. He said conditions at the park are being monitored and adjusted each day around 2:00 p.m.

With files from Stephanie Blanchet and Dave Irish