Kouchibouguac National Park covers 238 km² (92 sq mi), and received about 160,000 visitors in 2015-16.
Kelly's Beach, a very long sand dune, is a popular attraction along with a number of bogs, a boardwalk trail, eight hiking trails, a network of bicycle trails, two campgrounds, canoe and boat launch and the Cap-St-Louis fishing port. Kelly's Beach is popular with naturists as the long sandy beach allows privacy and seclusion. This beauty cannot eliminate the pain experienced by the former residents, whose story is now told in a permanent exhibit at the park's visitors' centre.
The park has a Mi'kmaq name which is reflected in the name of the Kouchibouguac River. The river's name means "river of the long tides" in Mi'kmaq. The decision to name the park in this manner did not sit well with many local residents, Acadians who wanted a name that better reflected their identity. Many wanted the park to be called Claire-Fontaine, after one of the communities that was destroyed.
Contact the park office: +1 506-876-2443, toll-free +1-888-773-8888, or email: email@example.com
The park was established in 1969 to set aside sensitive sand dunes and bogs. The rules of the time dictated that all permanent residents had to be removed for a park to be created. These residents were mostly Acadians, whose ancestors had been deported. As a result, Parks Canada encountered great difficulty expropriating land from numerous land owners who lived in seven communities (approximately 215 families, including over 1200 individuals). The residents were generally seen as so poor that government officials believed they would benefit from having to start their lives again elsewhere. The government patronizingly created courses so that people might lead more productive lives. Government officials believed that they were rehabilitating the people by forcing them to move. But the residents resisted this move shutting down the park on several occasions. The most notable of these was Jackie Vautour, whose home was bulldozed in 1976, but who returned to squat there two years later, where he remains. Vautour's decades-long struggle has turned him into a folk hero.
As a result of the resistance to the park, Parks Canada changed its rules, so no one would ever again experience forced removal.
The park is on the east coast of New Brunswick, in Kouchibouguac. It includes barrier islands, sand dunes, lagoons, salt marshes and forests.
Flora and fauna
It provides habitat for seabirds, including the endangered piping plover, and the second largest tern colony in North America. Colonies of harbour seals and grey seals also inhabit the park's 25 km (16 mi) of sand dunes. It is home to the extremely rare and fragile Gulf of St. Lawrence aster, though in 2006, storms eradicated most of the asters' colonies.
Mammal species that inhabit on the land are raccoon, bobcat, lynx, moose, species of bats, timber wolf, coyote, black bear, beaver, marten, species of shrews, river otter, porcupine, muskrat, species of mice, woodchuck, mink, striped skunk, and snowshoe hare. Bird species of this park are bald eagles, a number of geese, woodpecker, three species of falcons, ducks, loons, a variety of owls, and hawks. Marine animals that inhabit offshore are a variety of seals, dolphins, porpoises, and variety of whales.
Kouchibouguac National Park is a one-hour drive north of Moncton or a 2½-hour drive northeast of Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Acadian Coastal Drive is a scenic driving route. There is no public transit access directly into the park. It is in Kent County, a one-hour drive north of Moncton, or a four-hour drive from the Quebec border, or a four-hour drive northeast of Maine.
From Moncton, take Highway 15 to Shediac and then either Highway 11 heading north, or the more scenic Acadian Coastal Drive.
From Miramichi, take Highway 11 heading south, or the more scenic Acadian Coastal Drive via route 117.
Via Rail Canada Ltd has regular train services to the nearest train stations, Miramichi and Moncton are respectively 45 minutes and 1 hour from Kouchibouguac. Both cities offer car rental services.
The Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport, in Moncton, is the closest major airport to Kouchibouguac.
Fees and permits
Peak season is July and August; shoulder season is April to the last Friday in June; and from day following Labour Day (first Monday in September) to Nov 30.
Daily fees peak season/shoulder season (2018):
- Adult: $7.80/$3.90
- Senior: $6.80/$3.15
- Youth and children free
- Family/group: $15.70/$7.85
Seasonal fees peak season/shoulder season (2018):
- Adult $39.20/$23.50
- Senior $34.30/$20.60
- Youth and children free
- Family/group $78.50/$58.80 in spring, $47.05 in fall
Parks Canada Passes
The Discovery Pass provides unlimited admission for a full year at over 80 Parks Canada places that typically charge a daily entrance fee It provides faster entry and is valid for 12 months from date of purchase. Prices for 2018 (taxes included):
- Family/group (up to 7 people in a vehicle): $136.40
- Children and youth (0-17): free
- Adult (18-64): $67.70
- Senior (65+): $57.90
The Cultural Access Pass: people who have received their Canadian citizenship in the past year can qualify for free entry to some sites.
Recreation in the park include swimming, cycling and hiking. Kouchibouguac offers a range of activities, from a river adventure in a voyageur-style canoe, to going seal watching, to a talk about Mi'kmaq band governments. The park is also home to the popular Kelly's Beach.
Peak season is July and August; shoulder season is Victoria Day to last Friday in June and day after Labour Day to Thanksgiving.
Camping per night, peak season/shoulder season (2018):
- South Kouchibouguac - Unserviced with washroom building having toilets and showers $27.40/$21.50
- South Kouchibouguac - Electrical $32.30/$29.40
- South Kouchibouguac – Electricity, sewage and water $38.20/$35.30
- South Kouchibouguac – oTENTiks ("glamping") $ 100.00/$90.00
- Côte-à-Fabien - Primitive (June to September) $15.70
- South Kouchibouguac – Equipped Camping $70.00/$70.00
Group camping per night Côte-à-Fabien – without showers, per person (May to October): $4.90
Parking lot camping per night, per vehicle (November to April): $18.60
Backcountry use and camping per person (2018):
- Overnight $9.80
- Annual $68.70