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Kejimkujik National Park

Kejimkujik National Park

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Kejimkujik National Park (often called Keji for short) is part of the Canadian National Parks system, located in the province of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

. The park consists of two geographically separate properties: the main park is located in the upland interior of the Nova Scotia peninsula
Nova Scotia peninsula
The Nova Scotia peninsula is a peninsula on the Atlantic coast of North America.-Location:The Nova Scotia peninsula is part of the province of Nova Scotia, Canada and is connected to the neighbouring province of New Brunswick through the Isthmus of Chignecto...

 bordering Queens and Annapolis
Annapolis County, Nova Scotia
Annapolis County is a county in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia located in the western part of the province on the Bay of Fundy. The county seat is Annapolis Royal.-History:...

 counties; and the much smaller Kejimkujik Seaside unit, located on the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 coast of Queens County. The park covers an area of 404 km2
1 E8 m²
To help compare different orders of magnitude and geographical regions, listed below are areas between 100 km2 and 1000 km2. See also areas of other orders of magnitude.* Areas less than 100 km2* 100 km2 is equal to:** 1 E+8 m²...

. The entire inland unit has a double designation: Kejimkujik National Historic Site, making Kejimkujik unique in the park system as the only national park whose virtually entire area is a national historic site.

Geology and Soils

The bedrock of the Park consists of Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

 to Ordovician
The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six of the Paleozoic Era, and covers the time between 488.3±1.7 to 443.7±1.5 million years ago . It follows the Cambrian Period and is followed by the Silurian Period...

 period quartzite
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink...

 and slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

, plus Devonian
The Devonian is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic Era spanning from the end of the Silurian Period, about 416.0 ± 2.8 Mya , to the beginning of the Carboniferous Period, about 359.2 ± 2.5 Mya...

 period granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

. All of these rocks, especially quartzite, have a high silica content and provide scanty amounts of nutrients to the soils that develop on them. The slate, however, is fine-grained and produces a loamy soil which yields its nutrients more quickly than the stony sandy loams and loamy sands found over the coarse-grained rocks. Most of the slaty loams occur around Kejimkujik Lake. Deep outwash sands and gravels form a band west of the lake. Elsewhere the soil landscape is dominated by the cobbly, often shallow granite or quartzite material. Podzols underlie most well-drained areas. Gleysols and peat bogs dominate where drainage is poor. The Park receives acid rain
Acid rain
Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions . It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen...

, and its soils have few available acid-buffering minerals, so strong acidity is the rule for soils and waters—even large bodies of water such as Kejimkujik Lake.


Kejimkujik National Park conserves two distinct environments:

The large main section of the park is a forested upland plain located approximately 50 kilometres inland from the South Shore
South Shore (Nova Scotia)
The South Shore is a region of Nova Scotia, Canada. Although it has no formal identity and is variously defined by geographic, county and other political boundaries, it is generally understood as the Atlantic coast running southwest from Halifax Harbour to the end of Shelburne County...

 and Annapolis Valley
Annapolis Valley
The Annapolis Valley is a valley and region in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is located in the western part of the Nova Scotia peninsula, formed by a trough between two parallel mountain ranges along the shore of the Bay of Fundy.-Geography:...

 and may be accessed from Trunk 8 running between Liverpool
Liverpool, Nova Scotia
Liverpool is a Canadian community and former town located along the Atlantic Ocean of the Province of Nova Scotia's South Shore. It is situated within the Region of Queens Municipality which is the local governmental unit that comprises all of Queens County, Nova Scotia...

 and Annapolis Royal
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Annapolis Royal is a town located in the western part of Annapolis County, Nova Scotia. Known as Port Royal until the Conquest of Acadia in 1710 by Britain, the town is the oldest continuous European settlement in North America, north of St...


The park is named after Kejimikujik Lake
Kejimikujik Lake
Kejimikujik lake is the namesake lake and the largest lake in Kejimkujik National Park. The work 'Kejimkujik' is agreed by all to be a word derived from the Mi'kmaq language, but depending on the source will be said to mean "attempting to escape" or "swollen waters"...

, the largest lake inside the main section of the park. The many lakes and rivers form interior waterways that were important canoe
A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

 routes between the Bay of Fundy
Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is a bay on the Atlantic coast of North America, on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the U.S. state of Maine...

 and the Atlantic for the ancestors of the Mi'kmaq. The park also contains the petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s left behind by these inhabitants. The lake's Mi'kmaq name has been translated as "attempting to escape" or "swollen waters", possibly related to fishing weir
Fishing weir
A fishing weir, or fish weir, is an obstruction placed in tidal waters or wholly or partially across a river, which is designed to hinder the passage of fish. Traditionally they were built from wood or stones. They can be used to trap fish...

s placed on the lake. The park's official stance is that Kejimkujik is a Mi'kmaq word meaning "tired muscles".

The smaller Kejimkujik Seaside includes white sandy beaches and coastal wetland areas. The park includes habitat for the endangered Piping Plover
Piping Plover
The Piping Plover is a small sand-colored, sparrow-sized shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches in North America. The adult has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the neck...

 and other coastal birds. It is located off Highway 103
Nova Scotia Highway 103
Highway 103 is an east-west highway in Nova Scotia that runs from Halifax to Yarmouth.The highway follows a route of approximately 300 km along the province's South Shore region fronting the Atlantic coast. The route parallels its predecessor, local Trunk 3...

 near the villages of Port Mouton
Port Mouton, Nova Scotia
Port Mouton is a small village along Highway 103 on the southwest coast of Region of Queens Nova Scotia, Canada. It is about ten miles from Liverpool, Nova Scotia, the nearest significant community, and 100 miles from the provincial capital of Halifax, Nova Scotia.On May 13, 1604, the French...

 and Port Joli
Port Joli, Nova Scotia
Port Joli is a small village located along Highway 103 on the southwest coast of Region of Queens Nova Scotia, Canada. It is about 20 miles from Liverpool, Nova Scotia, the nearest significant town, and 120 miles from Halifax, Nova Scotia, the provincial capital. Port Mouton is about midway between...



Rivers in the park include the:
  • Mersey River
    Mersey River (Nova Scotia)
    The Mersey River, formerly known as Rivière Rossignol by the Acadians, is a river in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is named after the River Mersey in Liverpool, England...

  • West River
  • Little River
  • Shelburne River
    Shelburne River
    The Shelburne River is a 53 km long river in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is a wilderness river and is a tributary of Mersey River. It starts in the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.The Shelburne River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1997.- References :...

Interior Camping

Although there are numerous drive-in campgrounds in Keji the park is also known for its interior camping: campsites which are only accessible by canoe or hiking in the summer, or ski or snowshoe in the winter. Keji provides excellent canoeing, with numerous navigable lakes and rivers forming an interconnected system. The further a camper progresses from access points, the more wild the park becomes, and it is possible to spend several days in the interior with little or no sight of other campers. Park staff maintain portages along major routes.

Interior campsites can vary widely, and none have any permanent shelter. Sufficient bad-weather gear (tent
A tent is a shelter consisting of sheets of fabric or other material draped over or attached to a frame of poles or attached to a supporting rope. While smaller tents may be free-standing or attached to the ground, large tents are usually anchored using guy ropes tied to stakes or tent pegs...

s, tarps
A tarpaulin, colloquially tarp, is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material, often cloth such as canvas or polyester coated with urethane, or made of plastics such as polyethylene. In some places such as Australia, and in military slang, a tarp may be known as a...

, etc.) should be brought so the trip can remain enjoyable in the face of less-than-perfect weather
Rain is liquid precipitation, as opposed to non-liquid kinds of precipitation such as snow, hail and sleet. Rain requires the presence of a thick layer of the atmosphere to have temperatures above the melting point of water near and above the Earth's surface...

. All campsites have a firebox, which should be the only location used for fires
A campfire is a fire lit at a campsite, to serve the following functions: light, warmth, a beacon, a bug and/or apex predator deterrent, to cook, and for a psychological sense of security. In established campgrounds they are usually in a fire ring for safety. Campfires are a popular feature of...

. Fires made in non-prepared sites can cause underground roots to burn, allowing the fire to spread.


There are 15 hiking trails available. Details of hiking trails


Interior camping can provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

, deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

 and loon
The loons or divers are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Eurasia...

 are not uncommon, especially along waterways. Black bears
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

, though present in the park, are seldom seen.
There are several uncommon species of organisms that call Kejimkujik their home. The Blanding's Turtle
Blanding's Turtle
Blanding's turtle is a semi-aquatic turtle of the family Emydidae. It is considered to be an endangered species throughout much of its range.-Taxonomy:...

 which is considered an endangered species in Nova Scotia is similar in size to the common Painted Turtle; however the Blanding's is characterized by its yellow coloured neck. Juveniles measure between 5 and 12 cm in carapace diameter while adult females can measure between 25 and 35 cm. It is a very gentle turtle that frequently nests on beaches that are accessible by the public. For this reason it is important for visitors to be careful not to disturb nesting turtles, and to report any sightings to the visitor centre. Eastern Ribbon Snake
Eastern Ribbon Snake
The Eastern Ribbon Snake or Common Ribbon Snake is a subspecies of ribbon snake found in the northeastern United States....

 is a threatened species in Nova Scotia and lives in several isolated areas in the park. The Eastern Ribbon Snake upon first glance may be easily confused with the common Garter snake, but the Eastern Ribbon Snake is defined by 3 longitudinal yellow stripes on the dorsal side and a black or dark brown colouration. Adult Eastern Ribbon Snakes in the park usually measure between 50 and 70 cm in length. Kejimkujik is one of two places in Canada where Hydrocotyle umbellata
Hydrocotyle umbellata
Hydrocotyle umbellata, is an aquatic plant that thrives in wet, sandy habitat. Its English common name is manyflower marsh pennywort or dollarweed. It is native to North America and parts of South America. It can also be found growing as an introduced species and sometimes a noxious weed on other...

 or Water Pennywort exists. The other is in Yarmouth County.

Dark Sky Preserve

The Park was designated as a Dark Sky Preserve on July 6, 2010 by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada as part of their Dark Sky Preserve Program. The designation recognizes the commitment by the Park to protect the nighttime environment from the effects of artificial lighting. This policy will maintain the pristine quality of most of the Park by limiting the use of artificial lighting and will benefit the nocturnal wildlife Scotobiology
The term scotobiology describes the study of biology as directly and specifically affected by darkness, as opposed to photobiology, which describes the biological effects of light.-Overview:...

 within the Park and preserve the appearance of the night sky for stargazers.

The Tent Dwellers

The Tent Dwellers
The Tent Dwellers
The Tent Dwellers is a book by Albert Bigelow Paine, chronicling his travels through inland Nova Scotia on a trout fishing trip with Dr. Edward "Eddie" Breck, and with guides Charles "the Strong" and Del "the Stout", one June in the early 1900s...

 is a book by Albert Bigelow Paine
which chronicles his travels through inland Nova Scotia on a trout fishing trip with Dr. Edward "Eddie" Breck, and with guides Charles "the strong" and Del "the stout", in the early 1900s. Originally published in 1908, the book takes place in what is now Kejimkujik National Park and the Kejimkujik Seaside Tobeatic Game Reserve
Tobeatic Game Reserve
The Tobeatic Wilderness Area is a protected area located in south central Nova Scotia, Canada adjacent to and roughly three times the size of Kejimkujik National Park. The park spans five counties: Annapolis County, Digby County, Queens County, Yarmouth County and Shelburne County...

. The descriptions of the park contained in the book are beautifully written and uncannily accurate:

... the shores are green; the river or brook is clear and cold – and tarry black in the deep places; the water leaps and dashes in whirlpools and torrents, and the lakes are fairy lakes, full of green islands – mere ledges, many of them, with two or three sentinel pines – and everywhere the same clear, black water, and always the trout, the wonderful, wild, abounding Nova Scotia trout.

Sadly, the trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

 which brought Paine and Breck to the park area are now largely absent, due to higher acid levels in the water from acid rain.

Kejimkujik Seaside

In 1985 Parks Canada acquired lands along the coast of Nova Scotia about 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) south of Liverpool. In 1988 these lands became part of Kejimkujik National Park to include coastal ecosystems within Kejimkujik National Park. The land acquisition was important for Canadian culture and heritage due to the expanding development along the East Coast of Canada. These properties are still the largest track of undeveloped coast in Nova Scotia.

Kejimkujik Seaside includes two sides, one of which contain trails and parking facilities at St catherines River Beach. The Little Port Joli Basin and Basin Lake side is accessible but not marked as a National Park with signage. The two barrier beaches each of which are nesting sites for the endangered Piping Plover. The lagoons are important migration stops for many species of birds such as Short-billed dowichers, Semipalmated plovers, sandpipers, Black-bellied plovers, and many others.

The Little Port Joli Basin and Basin Lake are being used for European green crab research. The removal of the green crabs are essential in research into the dwindling fish stocks on the East Coast.

Two trails exists at Kejimkujik Seaside. Port Joli Head Trail is a coastal trail that takes you along the rocky coast of Port Joli Head around berms, and ponds. Cormorants, deer, and the occasional black bear
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

 can be seen on this trail. Harbour Rocks Trail takes you straight to the beach through the upland barrens and bogs. The trail continues along the rocky shore to St Catherines River Beach where the clean white sand beach well greet you with its turquoise waters. Seals, cormorants, jellyfish, plovers, great blue heron, deer, mink, osprey and many other forms of wildlife are often seen in this area.

See also

External links