PEI

Visitor numbers down 50-70% at P.E.I. National Park

National park beaches have been popular Island hot spots, even though they have been far from full this sunny summer, according to Parks Canada.

'Given the amount of sites we have, we were very busy'

Parks Canada visitor services co-ordinator Jessica Foster said even though visitor numbers are down at P.E.I. National Park, the campground and beaches have been popular places. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

National park beaches have been popular P.E.I. hot spots, even though they have been far from full during the pandemic, according to Parks Canada.

Jessica Foster, visitor services co-ordinator for Parks Canada on the Island, said visitor numbers are down at P.E.I. National Park by 50 to 70 per cent this summer.

She said the drop was expected as a result of COVID-19-related travel and physical distancing orders.

Despite the overall decline compared to previous years, weekends bucked the trend over recent months as more visitors turned up.

Given the travel restrictions still in place, Foster suggested the traffic consists of Islanders on stay-at-home vacations and Atlantic bubblers.

Entry fees at P.E.I. National Park will continue to be collected until Sept. 7. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

People can still access trails, areas for daytime use, green spaces, some beaches and campsites.

The Cavendish Campground remains closed to the public for the season to continue the cleanup of damage caused by post-tropical storm Dorian.

The Stanhope Campground was operating at 40 per cent capacity because of public health orders, and Foster said it was nearly at its limits most nights.

"Given the amount of sites we have, we were very busy," she said.

She noted there is still time to camp there.

Foster said the surf guard service wrapped for the season at Greenwich Beach on Aug. 23, and will end at Stanhope's main beach on Aug. 30.

The Brackley and Cavendish main beaches will continue to have surf guards on duty until Sept. 7.

Entry fees will continue to be collected until Sept. 7.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

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