It's one of this province's great wilderness areas. And it may not be open this summer or in years to come.
Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is running out of money. The park is run by the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Authority, which spent about $200,000 upgrading Eatonville expecting to be reimbursed by the Department of Natural Resources. County councillor John Reid said DNR approved the work.
But the provincial department has offered only $50,000, and has committed to just $50,000 next year, with no promise of funding beyond that.
Someone is to blame. It's unwise to wade into he said-she said stories, but either DNR has backed out of a commitment, or CREDA has overstretched and spent money it shouldn't have.
In tough fiscal times, maybe CREDA would have been better not spending $200,000, regardless of provincial promises. Hopefully CREDA has a paper trail they can share with the public demonstrating the people at fault are in Halifax, not Amherst.
Regardless of blame, the possible closure of this incredible natural resource should be addressed immediately. Our MLAs, Brian Skabar and Jamie Baillie ,should ensure their colleagues understand the importance of Cape Chignecto.
Our landscape is one of the defining characteristics of Canadians. There are other western democracies with social safety nets. But only Canada has this vast piece of rugged, northern wilderness to call our backyard. We lose touch with that at our peril.
Residents of Cumberland County know that more than most. Sure, most of us haven't gone camping in a long time. But our enthusiasm for the forest is well-documented. Amherstonians walked into the sugar woods in droves this past month, despite maple syrup being available at every corner store.
Even when we're not in the wilderness, it shapes us.
The ruling party in Halifax may have lost touch with life beyond the downtown peninsula. That just means we need to remind them. So let's contact our elected officials, and let's make a point of going to Chignecto this summer - one of the last true wilderness hiking and camping areas in the entire province.