Parks Canada is closing Kejimkujik National Park Seaside over the next few days due to increased black bear activity in the St. Catherine's area. Safety measures will remain in place until bears move away from the shoreline as food becomes more plentiful in the woods.
The federal agency announced the closure June 28 on the brink of the Canada Day weekend, a popular destination time for the national park.
Human and wildlife safety is of the utmost importance to Parks Canada, the agency said in a release, noting that Parks Canada takes action to promote coexistence between people and wildlife, to ensure the well-being and safety of both.
Parks Canada said safety and risk factors are carefully considered when making decisions to temporarily close a park/trail. To protect visitors and wildlife, the following restrictions are in place by order of the Superintendent:
Friday, June 28: Open: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The park is closed from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. Minimum three people. Anyone entering the park on foot must travel in groups of three or more. The park advises people to leave domestic pets at home, saying they are not allowed on the trail because they can be an attractant as well as a distraction.
People are also advised to use noise-makers such as whistles or bells to help reduce the risk of these particular black bears getting used to the presence of people.
The park also advocates "safety before selfies," meaning give the bears space and do no interact with them. It is also advised to carry bear spray, along with ensuring that it is accessible and you know how to use it.
*No interaction and give bears space*
Safety before selfies – keep wildlife out of the picture.
Park staff will not be on site while the park is closed from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.
On June 29, June 30 and July 1 the park is closed with no visits permitted.
On July second access will be re-assessed at the beginning of the week.
Tuesday, July 2
According to Parks Canada, the black bear population at Kejimkujik Seaside is healthy, thanks to the largely undisturbed habitat and abundant food supply. The increased activity being observed is not unusual.
By reducing the potential of bear-human encounters through the guidelines and closures, Parks Canada is encouraging natural black bear behaviour and reducing the likelihood of risky behaviour which can happen when bears become habituated to humans.
Parks Canada advises visitors in the instance of a bear encounter at Kejimkujik Seaside to face the animal, make noise, raise your arms to make yourself look bigger, back off slowly and report the incident to the Parks Canada Duty Officer at 902-682-2598.
Parks Canada will continue to monitor the situation and communicate on changes to site access as they are determined.