More people got off the beaten trail and onto a provincial park trail this year.
Nova Scotia Provincial Parks wrapped up the camping season with record numbers of campers and day-users, according to Matt Parker, director of parks, outreach and service delivery for the Department of Natural Resources.
He said over the last few years there has been an upward trend of people visiting provincial parks in Nova Scotia, but this past year saw the biggest jump yet for campers with 78,025 campsites booked across the system. He said it's a 13 per cent increase from the 2016 season.
It's more difficult to determine increases in day-users according to Parker, but he said without doubt the numbers are also up.
"We don't have a good day-use tracking system, but talking with field staff, and we have a few trail counters on some of our hiking trails, and the increases have been significant also," he said.
Parker said more traffic could be a result of the good summer weather, and the extension of the camping season at three provincial parks by five weeks.
"We figure about 1 to 1.5 of the 13 per cent increase was attributed to this," he said.
The three parks are Mira River Provincial Park in Cape Breton, Blomidon Provincial Park in Kings County and Ellenwood Lake Provincial Park in Yarmouth County.
All provincial parks are now closed for camping for the season but Parker said visitors are still welcome to enjoy activities like walking, and in a few months, cross country skiing.
"We really want folks to be out there enjoying our parks and doing it in a safe manner and following the rules," he says.