Government of Canada celebrates opening of Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground in Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Coastal camping experience along world famous Cabot Trail opens July 2022
June 29, 2022 Chéticamp, NS Parks Canada Agency
The Government of Canada is investing in national parks across the country to support sustainable tourism, create jobs in our local communities and help advance the Government of Canada’s efforts to combat climate change.
Today, Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria, and Mike Kelloway, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, formally announced the opening of Cape Breton Highland National Park’s newest visitor offer, Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground. The $7 million project, funded through the Federal Infrastructure Investment Program, offers a brand new coastal camping experience along the world famous Cabot Trail. A community celebration was held by Parks Canada and partners from La Société Saint-Pierre and the Parks Canada-Unama’ki Advisory Committee to mark the occasion.
Pronounced “Mm kwas sock took”, Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground opens to visitors on July 1, 2022, in time for the summer camping season. Visitors to the campground will have a private, backcountry feel, with stunning ocean vistas and views of the highlands and cliffs of the Cabot Trail. Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground offers 47 walk-in sites, including five oTENTiks and six accessible campsites, with treed nooks to create a feeling of remoteness and privacy, with the convenience of front-country camping.
In the design of the campground, Parks Canada integrated innovative climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions, including off-grid solar powered infrastructure and the use of native vegetation to build stable, climate resilient slopes. Climate change impacts to Parks Canada-administered places are complex, and the Agency is committed to integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation actions into its work. This investment ensures the quality and sustainability of the campground’s infrastructure and an enhanced visitor experience.
Investments in visitor facilities, such as Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground, ensure high-quality, meaningful, experiences for people coming to Canada’s national parks and historic sites. Investing in these places helps support the health of our natural heritage and creates jobs in our local communities. The Government of Canada is working towards net-zero emissions by 2050 to create a cleaner, healthier future for Canadians.
Visitors can reserve their campsite or oTENTik on the Parks Canada Reservation Service. As the country’s largest tourism provider, Parks Canada is committed to providing exceptional and meaningful experiences at iconic destinations like Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
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“The Government of Canada is committed to commemorating our shared difficult histories and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The aptly named Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground honours the expropriated Acadian community and the Mi’kmaq connections to the region. Through infrastructure investments, the Government of Canada is protecting and conserving national treasures, while supporting local economies and contributing to growth in the tourism sector. This substantial federal investment and green infrastructure will ensure this park continues to offer a sustainable, safe, and breath-taking experience to Cape Bretoners and visitors for decades to come.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria
“The Government of Canada is investing in sustainable tourism, supporting local economies and mitigating the effects of climate change. I am thrilled to join the community and Parks Canada partners to celebrate the opening of the new Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground and to welcome visitors from all over the world to experience the unique coastal landscape of Cape Breton and our Canadian heritage. Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground offers a wonderful opportunity to share with visitors the beauty, history, and culture of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and benefit the region’s tourism offer.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso
"Sharing the Mi’kmaw perspective enriches and enhances any story told about the landscape of Nova Scotia. We are proud that both the Mi'kmaq and Acadian historical and cultural connections to these lands are being shared with visitors to the Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground. The collaborative efforts of our Mi’kmaq-Parks Canada Unama’ki Advisory Committee, and community of partners have been an integral part of how this important work has unfolded."
Chief Wilbert Marshall
Lead, Culture, Heritage & Archaeology Portfolios for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs
“La Société Saint-Pierre, on behalf of the community of Chéticamp, especially the expropriated families and their descendants, is pleased to have this part of our troubled history told and forever remembered for future generations. This beautiful location was the home of many of our Acadian families, and we are proud to honour them today on this official opening. It is our hope that this is but the beginning of many more collaborative projects for many years to come.”
President, La Société Saint-Pierre
Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a gateway to adventure in northern Cape Breton Island. Visitors can enjoy hiking, cycling, swimming, ocean kayaking, picnics in quaint coves, and experience the friendly local culture in the communities that surround the park. Parks Canada is looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Canada and abroad this 2022 season.
Sustainability and inclusivity are built into the campground design, which features an off-grid solar system, providing most of the campground’s power, as well as accessible washroom buildings, campsites, oTENTiks, kitchen shelters and facilities.
In August 2015, flash flooding triggered breaches in the Chéticamp River watershed, causing significant damage to the Chéticamp campground. The risk of future flood events determined that the lower Chéticamp campground be closed and the site relocated. The Trout Brook (Ruisseau des Maurice) day-use area was then selected as the location for a new campground.
The Mkwesaqtuk/Cap-Rouge Campground honours Indigenous connections to this region and commemorates the Acadian peoples whose lands were expropriated for the creation of the national park in 1936. Parks Canada collaborated with members of La Société Saint-Pierre and the Parks Canada-Unama’ki Advisory Committee in selecting a name that will encourage Canadians to learn about the full scope of our shared history.
The campground will provide visitors the opportunity to learn about Indigenous connections to the region, providing interpretation panels in Mi’kmaw, French and English. Parks Canada has worked closely with partners, La Société Saint-Pierre, to ensure visitors have the opportunity to learn about the rich Acadian cultural heritage by constructing the interpretation house in the Acadian style and offering interpretation programs.
Mkwesaqtuk is a Mi’kmaq word that describes a place or feature that distinctly changes to red. This Mi’kmaq expression would have been used to describe the coastal area that Acadians later called Cap-Rouge, on the western side of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The Mi’kmaw and French names capture the intent and spirit of Etuaptamumk, also known as the Two-Eyed Seeing approach, which combines Mi'kmaq and Western perspectives. The Mi’kmaw-French name of the campground honours the history of the location, and offers opportunities for celebrating Mi’kmaq and Acadian cultural and linguistic connections.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Parks Canada Agency
A/Public Relations and Communications Officer
La Société Saint-Pierre
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