The Bruce breaks record, again!

TOBERMORY, ON, Nov. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Bruce Peninsula National Park has broken another visitor record as it welcomed over 284,000 visitors to the park between May and October 2013. This represents a 13% increase in visitation from 2012, and continues an upward trend that began in 2007. Over the past 6 years, annual visitation to the park has increased by over 60%.

The Bruce Peninsula is an incredibly rich and spectacular place to discover and enjoy what being outdoors is all about. In fact, the richness of the region is so abundant that in addition to Bruce Peninsula National Park, Fathom Five National Marine Park is also situated at the northern tip of the peninsula. Together, the two parks conserve approximately 268 km2 of land and water. On behalf of Canadians, Parks Canada protects and operates these incredible parks - internationally renowned for their breathtaking natural features.

The Grotto is the most popular spot for visitors within Bruce Peninsula National Park, and in August 2013, it was ranked on Trip Advisor as the best attraction in Tobermory, and also ranked 13th of the best attractions in Ontario (2174 attractions were listed).

"While the Grotto is the most well known feature in Bruce Peninsula National Park, Singing Sands Beach and Halfway Log Dump are two of my favourite park spots, and they should be on every visitors' must see list for great views and relaxation," said Monique Wall, Visitor Experience Manager for Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park. "Visitors to Fathom Five flock to see and experience the famous flowerpots on Flowerpot Island, but there are also many boaters, divers, and snorkelers exploring the many shipwrecks and geographical features that are found below the waters of the marine park."

For those looking to spend the night at a campsite or in a Yurt, both parks experienced near 100% overnight occupancy this past summer. Booking in advance will help ensure a successful visit. Day trip visitors should also think about their travel plans in advance as parking for the Grotto fills up very quickly every morning of the week throughout the summer. To help alleviate parking stress, Parks Canada entered into an agreement with a local transit company that now offers a bus service from Tobermory into the Cyprus Lake Campground and the Grotto.

"Local transit into the park was a pilot project offered during the 2013 season that provided an alternative for visitors by connecting harbour access for boat cruises to Flowerpot Island, the town of Tobermory, and the busiest spot in Bruce Peninsula National Park, the Grotto," said Frank Burrows, Superintendent of Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park. "We are very supportive of environmentally sound initiatives that make it easier for visitors to enjoy their park experience, and will work throughout the year to make sure we are providing options that ensure our visitors continue to experience the best of the Bruce Peninsula next year, and into the future."

With so much to discover, Bruce Peninsula National Park offers hiking trails from beginner to expert level, incredible viewscapes, especially along the Niagara Escarpment, and great spots to spend nights looking up at the stars. Fathom Five National Marine Park preserves a rich natural and cultural legacy that includes 22 shipwrecks, several historic light stations, and a freshwater ecosystem that contains some of the most pristine waters of the Great Lakes. Like Bruce Peninsula National Park, Fathom Five National Marine Park has seen an upward trend in visitation, and welcomed approximately 250,000 visitors in 2013.

Summer weekends are incredibly busy on the entire Bruce Peninsula, so planning ahead is an important part of having a great visitor experience to the Bruce Peninsula. Although weekdays are not as busy, with two great parks and so much on offer, the Spring, between May and June, and the Fall, between September and October, are great times to visit and avoid the summer crowds. Backcountry campers love the warm days, and starry nights, while those seeking a bed, hot showers, and the warmth of a wood stove find the Yurts a great option.

Parks Canada has formed close working relationships with local business and tourism organizations to ensure that visitors to the area are able to enjoy the unique and quality features of both parks while sustaining the natural and cultural integrity of these national treasures for their continued enjoyment by future generations.

Parks Canada's website for Bruce Peninsula National Park (www.parkscanada.ca/bruce) has lots of great information for visitors interested in an on-land experience. Those looking to get out on the waters of Fathom Five will find the marine park's website (www.parkscanada.ca/fathomfive) to be equally informative. Visitors thinking of staying overnight at a campsite or in a Yurt are encouraged to use Parks Canada's online (www.reservation.pc.gc.ca) or telephone (1-877-737-3783) reservation options to book their stay in advance. Bookings for the 2014 season will become available in April.

Visitors from Toronto can also leave their cars at home and let Parkbus (www.parkbus.ca) do the driving with their regular service to Bruce Peninsula National Park.

For more information about Parks Canada's work in the Bruce Peninsula, visit the park websites, email bruce-fathomfive@pc.gc.ca, or telephone 519-596-2233.

Image with caption: "Bruce Peninsula National Park (CNW Group/Parks Canada (Georgian Bay and Ontario East Field Unit))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131119_C8761_PHOTO_EN_33563.jpg

SOURCE: Parks Canada (Georgian Bay and Ontario East Field Unit)

For further information:

Frank Burrows
Superintendent
Bruce Peninsula National Park / Fathom Five National Marine Park
519-596-2233 ext 237


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