Nova Scotia

'It's been devastating:' Kentville Ravine badly damaged by erosion, closed to public

Town officials in Kentville, N.S., have indefinitely closed a beloved park because of extensive damage caused by recent weather.

Contents of an old dump at the agricultural research station spread sediment, debris

The former site of a dump at the western edge of the Kentville Ravine. Recent heavy rain caused the land to erode down the slope of the ravine, spilling the contents of the dump onto the ravine floor. (Submitted by Tom Herman)

Town officials in Kentville, N.S., have indefinitely closed a beloved park because of extensive damage caused by recent weather.

The contents of an old dump spilled into Kentville Ravine last week, spreading sediment and debris across the ravine floor and washing out one of several bridges.

Tom Herman, a member of the Friends of Kentville Ravine, said heavy rainfall caused the slope of the ravine to erode, triggering the spill.

"It's been devastating," said Herman, who is a professor of biology at Acadia University.

"The ecological impact is unclear at this point, but a tremendous amount of sediment has washed into the ravine, and with it a lot of metal, glass and plastic debris."

A gully created by erosion on the western edge of the Kentville Ravine. A thick layer of sediment and debris are spread across the ravine floor and streambed. (Submitted by Tom Herman)

Barricades up

Rachael Bedingfield, Kentville's director of parks and recreation, said the park remains a "very volatile environment" with unstable terrain, and she urged people to stay away.

She said there are barricades and signs up at trailheads leading into the ravine.

Bedingfield couldn't put a timeline on reopening, but she, like Herman, called the damage "devastating," and said the town is committed to fixing it.

"It's a beautiful space that we know the community is really, really passionate about so we want to continue to honour that," she said.

The contents of an old dump that spilled into the Kentville Ravine last week, including plastic, metal and broken glass. (Submitted by Tom Herman)

The dump at the western edge of the ravine was used by the Kentville Research and Development Centre — a federally owned agricultural research station. The ravine itself is also owned by the federal government, and is leased to the town, which manages it for public use.

Bedingfield said the two levels of government are working together to assess the damage and decide how to repair it.

Home to old-growth forest

Herman said the ravine is well used by people in the area year-round, but especially in the summer when hundreds visit each day to use the trails and a picnic area.

"It's incredibly depressing to see this beautiful stand of old-growth hemlock, which is a real treasure in this region, to see it degraded in such a way."

Herman said he's concerned the impact could be "quite long lasting."

This stand of eastern hemlock trees around the Kentville Ravine is about 250 years old. (Submitted by Christianne Hagerman)


Taryn Grant


Taryn Grant is a Halifax-based reporter and web writer for CBC Nova Scotia. You can email her with tips and feedback at

With files from Blair Sanderson