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Pothole-Plagued Provincial Road Puts Cape Breton’s Meat Cove Campground in Crisis

Cape Breton’s (Nova Scotia, Canada) iconic outdoor camping location, Meat Cove Campground, is facing a crisis. 

The campground, which has been family-owned for three decades by Ken MacLellan and his kin, finds itself at the receiving end of a wave of cancellations. 

The culprit? A four-kilometer stretch of a pothole-ridden provincial road leading to the campsite, which MacLellan describes as being “one after the other,” with each one measuring 20 to 25 centimeters deep.

The situation on the road has spiraled to a point where it has begun affecting tourists’ vehicles. MacLellan laments, “People are having trouble with their vehicles. I mean, they’re going to the garages. We fix four tires over there. We fix brake lines,” underlining the severity of the problem. He recently had to shell out CA$7,000 to repair his van’s front end, which was damaged by the very road leading to his property.

This issue is not just a personal plight for MacLellan but has broader implications for privately owned campgrounds. 

With the world increasingly leaning towards eco-tourism, these private entities provide an essential link between tourists and their aspiration for an authentic, “rugged” outdoor camping experience. 

The conditions of the access roads play a pivotal role in attracting or dissuading potential visitors. In the case of Meat Cove Campground, the latter appears to be happening.

The dire condition of the road has become common knowledge among potential visitors, leading to a sharp decline in business for MacLellan. “My tourist season is down by 50 percent. I’m down CA$50,000 from the 1st of June until tomorrow,” he revealed. Last week, he was unable to pay his employees due to the severity of the financial hit.

While the road had seen some repairs after the devastating flooding in 2010, it was never completely paved. 

It last saw an upgrade five years ago, which consisted of new guardrails and paving along the steeper sections of the road. This, according to the Nova Scotia Department of Public Works, was an attempt to improve the road’s condition.

Despite MacLellan’s pleas to the province to pave the entirety of the road, his calls have fallen on deaf ears. He believes that even gravel is just a temporary solution, as plows would displace it during the winter season, leading to further damage.

While the province recently committed CA$6.4 million for the Seawall Trail, a 50-kilometer trail that includes huts for hikers, parking, and a shuttle service from Meat Cove, this doesn’t solve MacLellan’s problem. 

Similarly, Ottawa’s recent announcement of CA$43 million for infrastructure improvements related to hurricane Fiona recovery in Parks Canada-administered places on Cape Breton brings him no relief.

In the midst of this, the Department of Public Works spokesperson, Gary Andrea, stated that the department plans to make repairs soon, which include grading the road and gravel patching and ditching, “as soon as weather permits.” 

However, the efficacy of these measures in providing a long-term solution remains to be seen.

This incident underscores the need for a stronger focus on infrastructure support for privately owned campgrounds, which form an integral part of local tourism economies. 

Proper road maintenance, as demonstrated by this situation, is crucial for these businesses to thrive and provide the much-desired outdoor experiences to their visitors. Without it, the survival of these important local businesses is in jeopardy.

Featured image from Meat Cove Campground


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Modern Campground

Modern Campground

Modern Campground is the most innovative news source in the Outdoor Hospitality industry. We provide global news coverage for RV Park and Campground owners, operators, managers, and their team members.
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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Pothole-Plagued Provincial Road Puts Cape Breton's Meat Cove Campground in Crisis! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/canada/nova-scotia/pothole-plagued-provincial-road-puts-cape-bretons-meat-cove-campground-in-crisis/