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P.E.I. National Park Expansion Sparks Residents’ Concerns

Residents of Prince Edward Island’s North Shore were surprised by the announcement of P.E.I. National Park’s expansion. Additionally, Parks Canada said public consultations will begin early next year to develop a new management plan for the expanded park area.

Parks Canada announced it would now manage 135 acres along the French River-Park Corner area, previously managed by the L.M. Montgomery Land Trust. This expansion introduces new regulations, including bans on alcohol, drones, fires, camping, and dogs during peak tourist months.

Local residents Gareth MacLeod and Bruce Stewart expressed concern over the lack of consultation. MacLeod, who grew up in the area, was unaware of the change until it was announced. Stewart said the new regulations pose challenges for the community, where daily beach walks with dogs are a common activity.

“There are just dozens of people who come down here on a regular basis, a daily basis, to walk their dogs on the beach,” Stewart told CBC News. He added that vehicle access to the capes had been cut off, although walking access remained available.

The L.M. Montgomery Land Trust struggled financially to maintain the land since acquiring it in 2010. Trust President Bill Bishop said the land was transferred to Parks Canada in November 2023 after two years of discussions.

According to Parks Canada, there will be no fees to access the newly-managed land. The focus will be on conservation and educating the public about new regulations, including protecting sand dunes and banning dogs.

Despite the initial shock, Stewart is open to seeing how the situation develops. He prefers Parks Canada managing the land over potential private development, which could disrupt the area’s accessibility.

In addition to the expansion, Parks Canada is preparing to welcome visitors to Prince Edward Island National Park with a range of new enhancements for the upcoming season.

P.E.I. National Park opened its gates on June 5, offering access to beaches, day-use areas, trails, and washroom facilities. Visitors can anticipate several new facilities and experiences this year. At Stanhope Beach, a revamped complex now includes a newly built boardwalk with access ramps, a beach toy library, and accessibility features such as mobility mats and reservable wheelchairs. Additionally, Oceanview now features a new lookout platform and interpretive panels.

The situation surrounding the P.E.I. National Park expansion underscores the importance of early and continuous consultation with local communities. Engaging residents builds trust, addresses potential concerns, and ensures that new regulations or changes are understood and accepted by those affected. This approach aims to prevent opposition.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: P.E.I. National Park Expansion Sparks Residents' Concerns! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/canada/prince-edward-island/p-e-i-national-park-expansion-sparks-residents-concerns/