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Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cabot Trail in Winter

Winter Road Maintenance Standards

In the winter, a crew of 16 plow operators and 6 road supervisors monitor and clear the roads in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We have 4 snow plows, 4 salt trucks and 1 snow blower that cover about 100 km of challenging mountainous terrain.

Our experienced crews work in very challenging conditions to keep roads in the national park as clear and safe as possible.

Here's what we do to maintain roads in winter:

  • We start salting at the beginning of a storm, during and after as required. We salt to achieve a bare centre line.
  • Plowing often starts as soon as there is enough snow on the ground to plow, but our accumulation standard for plowing is 15 cm of snow.
  • Crews are regularly scheduled to cover 20 hours per day from 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
  • At the end of a shift, road supervisors consult road conditions, monitoring stations and weather forecasts to determine if extended coverage is required. If 15 cm or more of snow is expected after the regularly scheduled shifts, crews will remain on the roads.
  • Road supervisors are on call 24/7.

Parks Canada's top priority is safety and keeping winter roads as clear and safe as possible.

It is also important for travellers to exercise judgement before travelling in extreme weather in non-emergency situations and to always be prepared for winter driving conditions. For more information on winter driving in the Province of Nova Scotia, visit the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Web site.

Parks Canada reports road conditions to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation. For road conditions, call 511 or visit

In the event of an emergency, call 911. Roads will be cleared for emergency vehicles at the request of the emergency services provider.

Jasper Dispatch is Parks Canada's 24/7 emergency line: 1-877-852-3100.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park Administration can be reached Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 902-285-3012.