Popular Cape Breton waterfall closed with no set date to reopen

Just months after tourism officials in Cape Breton encouraged people to get out and explore waterfalls, the popular Mary-Ann Falls site remains closed with no set date for reopening.

For a relatively small island, Cape Breton has more than its share of waterfalls. It has so many that Destination Cape Breton launched its first ever “waterfall season” in April.

“We’re promoting the period from mid-May to the end of June as waterfall season in Cape Breton,” says Destination Cape Breton CEO Terry Smith. “It’s a time when we have spring runoff. There’s lots of water in all of our brooks, streams and rivers, so waterfalls are really at their fullest point.”

The idea behind the project is to draw visitors to the island during the shoulder season – and so far it seems to be working.

“We’re seeing that the interest is very strong. Our waterfall content on our website has increased tenfold,” says Smith.

But a popular waterfall, Mary-Ann Falls, in Cape Breton Highland’s National Park is currently closed, with no set date on when it will open to the public.

“We had some pretty severe rain events in November. We had 275 millimetres of rain in a 24 hour period, which is roughly three months of rain that fell overnight,” says Parks Canada spokesperson Robie Gourd.

That storm caused significant damage, including washing out the road that leads to Mary-Ann Falls.

Several months later, Parks Canada is still cleaning up and making repairs.

“It’s our goal to get it open for this season. I’m hesitant to put a date on it because there is so much work to do. Now that we’re entering high season, with the Canada Day weekend coming up, we’re hoping to open this summer. It’s just a matter of timing and getting resources and equipment in place,” says Gourd.

Smith is also hoping the falls will reopen this summer — it’s one of the top spots for tourists.

“It’s not the ideal situation, but when we have a storm like that, we all need to take a reality check. It’s very difficult to recover from a storm like that,” he says. “We still have a bridge out on the Cabot Trail as well. I just encourage people to be patient.”

Signs will be posted at trail heads to let people know if there are still portions that are damaged.

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