Cape Breton Highlands on the map. Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia

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Cape Breton Highlands on the map. Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia

Established: 1936   Acreage: 234,880

Although separated from the mainland of Nova Scotia by the Strait of Canso, Cape Breton Island is easily accessible from the mainland by causeway. The picturesque coastline is broken by bays and inlets. Rising abruptly from the water are rugged hills and mountains which sweep back to form a broad plateau, the dominant feature of the park. From the ocean, panoramas of hillside, cliff, bay and valley are seen; and from the land, vistas of sandy cove, rocky cape and jagged, tide-worn rocks, against the blue background of the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of St Lawrence.

White-tailed deer, bobcat, red fox, black bear, woodland jumping mouse, red-backed vole and masked shrew are among the mammals that inhabit the deciduous and mixed forests of the lowland coastal fringes and valleys. Snowshoe hare, red squirrel and moose are typical species found in the boreal highlands, which cover over half the land surface of the park. The highlands, the largest remaining wilderness in Nova Scotia, is one of the last refuges in the Maritimes for Canada lynx and pine marten.

Over-hunting and disease wiped out the moose and wood-

land caribou by the early 1900s, but moose were successfully reintroduced into the park in 1947 and 1948 from stock from Alberta.

During the summer, harbor porpoise, harbor seal and pilot, finback and minke whales are frequently seen in the waters surrounding the island. Many species of birds can be seen in the park, including red-eyed vireo, blue jay, white-throated sparrow, hermit thrush, spruce grouse, merlin, great horned owl, arctic terns and 18 species of warblers.

Cape Breton National Park offers both summer and winter recreation activities. Summer visitors can hike on the many trails, play golf or tennis, fish for trout and salmon and swim in both fresh and salt water. The famous Cabot Trail, one of Canada's most popular scenic drives, winds through the park. The northern part of the park is in a snow belt. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skating and beautiful star-studded winter nights beside the sea are all part of the fun.

The early history of Cape Breton Island is clouded and inconclusive. When Cape Breton was ceded by England to France after the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the walled city and fortress of Louisbourg were built, around which revolved a long struggle for supremacy in North America. French rule ended in Canada with the capture of Quebec in 1759. Settlement of parts of the island by Acadians from Nova Scotia was followed by Scottish immigration. Descendents of these early pioneers still constitute a large number of the island's present population.

Previous pages: Covehead Lighthouse in Prince Edward Island stands watch over the shore. In days past, the eastern coast of Canada was the scene of many shipwrecks. Among the ships lost was the famous Marco Polo, which foundered off Cape Cavendish in August J883.

Right: The famed Cabot Trail winds through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Pictured on the left is Corney Brook campground on the Gulf of St Lawrence. Below: Winter time fun at Cape Breton Highlands includes cross country skiing in the Clyburn Valley.

Cape Breton Highlands on the map. Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia