Nova Scotia

Kejimkujik closure leads to online petition

The fall and winter closure of Kejimkujik National Park is upsetting people who like to camp there during the off season.

Organizer of petition plans to present it to Prime Minister in November

Close to 4,500 people have signed an online petition to keep services from shutting down in Kejimkujik National Park.

After the Thanksgiving weekend, Kejimkujik will be closed to camping until the Victoria Day long weekend in May.

The change was made in an effort to offset federal budget cuts, but some park users are unhappy to give up the fall and winter season. They're planning to present their petition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Environment Minister Peter Kent next month.

"Fall being one of the darkest times of the year and of course the fall foliage and the crisp air, it's perfect to be outdoors," said Kathy Perrier. "And the spring is perfect for paddling. That's when you get the highest water of the year and it's before the mosquitoes come out."

Perrier has been camping at the park for thirty years and organized the online petition. She's also concerned that the park will not be as well cared for while it's not being used.

"It's hard to say what's going to happen when spring comes, what the condition of the park is going to be," said Perrier.

Last winter was the first for the yurts that were built at Kejimkujik. The small wooden structures were a hit in their first season and Perrier questions why the park should be shut down when so many people went to the park to stay in the yurts.

"Winter camping was up 400 per cent with that program," said Perrier. "I know a lot of people from what I've seen online were really excited about them coming back this year, but now that program is ceased."

Without wardens and park rangers, Perrier is also concerned poaching may become a problem in the park.