Cavendish campground plans include leaving some of Dorian devastation in place

Most of the work of repairing the campground at Cavendish in P.E.I. National Park is now on hold, following the destruction wrought by post-tropical storm Dorian last September.

Campground is closed for this summer

The hope was to have Cavendish campground ready to reopen by June of 2020, but work was delayed due to COVID-19. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

Most of the work of repairing the campground at Cavendish in P.E.I. National Park is now on hold, following the destruction wrought by post-tropical storm Dorian last September.

Park officials estimate more than 80 per cent of the trees in the area were destroyed or damaged in the storm, taking a lot of the park infrastructure with them.

Much of the cleanup has been done, but with the summer season upon them, staff are turning their attention to providing service to park visitors. Officials had hoped to open the campground this summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic shut down work.

"There was that period mostly through April where we sort of just sat back and looked at what's realistic," said Brad Romaniuk, resource conservation manager with P.E.I. National Park. 

"Ideally, we were going to come in, finish utilities work. We had a planting and rehabilitation plan in place for the entire campground."

Delays were caused both in the planning to get workers on site, and from suppliers who were also dealing with pandemic issues.

Too late to plant

The issue is not only staff being busy with visitors. The heat of summer is not an ideal time to be planting seedlings, which prefer cooler weather to get started.

"We'll resume that in September, and do some planting in the fall through September and October and a few more facility fix ups from wind damage," said Romaniuk.

"Stuff will take place through the summer and we'll attempt to get as much work as we can done and take advantage of the fact that sometimes it's easier to do some that work when there's not so many people around."

Some areas of Cavendish Campground have been restored since post-tropical storm Dorian. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

While some of the debris has been hauled out of the park, some will be left to decay and become part of the living history of the area. Storms are a natural part of the environment on P.E.I., and Romaniuk said it will be interesting to leave some areas and watch how they recover.

"A lot of our species in here that were at one point trapped by really old spruce stands — didn't have much light or nutrients or moisture — have just come alive in places," he said.

"It's a bit of a rebirth in a lot of these places and a lot of species have come back, so I think that's an exciting part of it."

He said while people have a desire for the area to go back to what it used to look like, there is a process to the ecology of the forest — and it changes.

Barring any further delays, the campground will reopen in June 2021.

More from CBC P.E.I.


  • A previous version of this story said that the Cavenish campground at P.E.I. National Park was expected to reopen in June 2020.
    Jul 07, 2020 11:48 AM AT

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown


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