Jutting far out into the Bay of Fundy, the sheer cliffs and high tides found at Cape Split make it famous across Canada – both for its beauty and its danger.
To combat the precarious landscape of the park, Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources has decided to upgrade parts of the hiking trail that winds through the park.
“I went to Cape Split over the summer, I think in May, and the trail was in pretty rough shape,” said Nicole Cowper, a resident of Halifax. “If you weren’t really paying attention you could have tripped and hurt yourself for sure. And getting too close to the cliffs is scary too. I feel like they could give out under my feet.”
Sections of the trail are being re-aligned for better drainage and a composting toilet will be installed along the trail as well, according to a news release. The trail will be closed on weekdays, likely for the next four weeks, provided weather doesn’t hinder the process.
“It is important to recognize that visitors want to enjoy the extraordinary experience of the natural environment offered by Cape Split and that natural environments do sometimes pose some risk,” said Bruce Nunn, media relations adviser for the Department of Natural Resources, in an email. “The Nova Scotia government considers visitor and staff safety a high priority and encourages all to enjoy the experience of Cape Split in a safe way.”
Nunn says that while the upgrades do create an inconvenience for fall hikers, the autumn season generally sees fewer hikers than the summer months. Lessening the impact on park visitors was a top priority for the province.
The province acquired Cape Split Provincial Park from private owners through land purchases in 2002 and 2007. In 2009, it released a 20-year development plan for the park, which discusses the upgrades to the Cape Split Trail, as well as the creation of new trails and removal of the old ones. The current Cape Split trail is 16 km round trip and is said to take five hours to hike.
“Even the way the trail is now, it’s still worth the hike for the view you get,” said Cowper. “It’s breathtaking and made me feel very Canadian.”