National park campground in Cavendish to remain closed for 2020 season

Parks Canada has decided to keep Cavendish park closed for the season because of the severe damage caused by post-tropical storm Dorian.

Stanhope campground will open after Canada Day

There was extensive damage in parts of P.E.I. National Park in Cavendish. (P.E.I. National Park)

Parks Canada has decided to keep its campground in the national park in Cavendish closed for the season because of severe damage caused by post-tropical storm Dorian.

The campground was meant to undergo significant work to its infrastructure this spring to repair damage caused by the storm. But the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans, leading to the closure this season.

Dorian swept through P.E.I. last fall, leaving irreparable damage in its wake. Many trees were uprooted and the western shoreline of Cavendish park was severely damaged, forcing its closure for the remainder of the 2019 season.   

Parks Canada had made plans to remove logs, renew landscaping, replant trees and reconfigure the layout this spring. Campgrounds at Cavendish and Stanhope were expected to reopen this month, but public health restrictions due to the pandemic delayed those efforts.

"Our staff were all sent home and contractors weren't permitted on the Island," said Tara McNally MacPhee, visitor experience manager for P.E.I. National Park. 

"As a result of that, that work has been deferred and so we're still working at the campground at this point in time and felt it was best to keep it closed for safety reasons this summer."

RVs only, limited facilities

While the national park campground in Cavendish will remain closed, the campground in Stanhope will gradually begin to open July 2.

The park was meant to undergo significant work to its infrastructure this spring to repair damage caused by the storm. But the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans, leading to the closure this season. (Tracy Lightfoot/CBC)

Initially, camping will be limited to people with existing reservations.

At first, only visitors with self-contained RVs will be accepted for overnight camping because washroom facilities will not be available on the campgrounds.

On July 13, single-stall washrooms and laundry facilities will reopen. 

More campsites are expected to open as the summer continues, but that's contingent on visitor compliance with public health and safety measures as well as staffing of Parks Canada team members on the grounds. 

Privately-owned campgrounds were among the businesses allowed to reopen beginning June 1. 

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With files from Angela Walker