Closure: Mill Falls day use areas closed until further notice due to Mill Falls pedestrian bridge replacement project
Issued: June 30, 2021
Ends: November 22, 2021
Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, June 30, 2021 — Parks Canada is replacing the floating pedestrian bridge at the Mill Falls day-use area with a new climate-resilient permanent pedestrian bridge.
What are the impacts to the visitor?
- Mill Falls day-use area is closed. This includes the picnic shelter, picnic tables, washrooms, swimming, trail, parking lot, and privy. The Mills Falls access road is closed at Main Parkway.
- Mill Falls trail is partially closed. Visitors can access Mill Falls trail from the Visitor Centre trailhead, and walk as far as the look off. Visitors can also access Mill Falls trail from the first look off along Main Parkway, and walk the trail as far as the Red Chairs. Note: There is a staircase between the parking lot and the trail.
- Beech Grove trail is partially closed. The section of trail between the access point to Ukme’k, and along the river as far as the floating bridge, is closed. (Ie, you cannot go left as you cross the bridge from the Visitor Centre). The section of trail between the floating bridge and the access point to Ukme’k is open and is a linear, shared-use, two-way trail. Bikers are asked to yield to pedestrians.
- Ukme’k trail is open; with access via Visitor Centre-Beech Grove as described above, as well as from the Flowing Waters trailhead and the Mersey River trailhead.
- Visitors are encouraged to explore other day-use areas of the park for picnicking, swimming, and enjoying the river. Some of these places include lookout sites along Main Parkway, Jake’s Landing, Merrymakedge area, and Mersery River trail.
This map shows the Mills Falls day-use area is closed, the Mill Falls trail is partially closed, and the Beech Grove trail is partially closed.
Why replace the bridge?
The floating pedestrian bridge above Mill Falls is a long-time and iconic feature at Kejimkujik, but the aging pontoon structure requires significant ongoing maintenance. This seasonal bridge requires annual installation in May, and removal in October, restricting access to several trails for half the year.
In 2019, Hurricane Dorian caused substantial damage to Kejimkujik infrastructure, including the floating bridge at Mill Falls. Parks Canada was able to secure funding to address damaged infrastructure and design for climate change resiliency. The new off-the-shelf modular bridge features technology and abutment designs that take into account climate change adaptation planning, and are able to withstand dramatic changes in storm water flow as well as wind loading.
The installation of the permanent Mill Falls pedestrian bridge will allow for more dependable four-season access to several trails, including the new Ukme’k shared-use trail.
Why does the whole Mill Falls area have to be closed?
The entire Mill Falls area is closed for visitor safety. The space is needed to provide adequate access and staging for construction. Materials will be delivered, stored and assembled on-site. Access is restricted to this construction site. Visitors are asked to respect barriers and signage, and to be aware of heavy equipment travelling to and from the Mill Falls area.
Why is this work being done in high visitor season?
Parks Canada is making every effort to minimize impacts this project has on visitors. While we generally try to schedule work outside of peak seasons, commonly the nature of construction requires the work to occur during our visitor season.
Parks Canada completes a thorough impact assessment for all infrastructure projects, and upholds all applicable regulations. Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Nova Scotia Environment regulations require that work on a watercourse must happen between June 1 to September 30, when water levels are generally lower. The start date has also been affected by provincial COVID-19 travel and impacts on contractor and material arrival.
Will the floating pedestrian bridge at Jake’s Landing be replaced, too?
There are no immediate plans to replace the bridge at Jake’s Landing.