Kejimkujik Park – Camping Under the Stars

Kejimkujik National Park, located in the south centre of Nova Scotia, is a natural preserve and recreational park as well as a national historic site. The park, affectionately called Keji by its enthusiasts, is 174 km (106 mi.) from Halifax and 86 km (53 mi.) from Digby.

Visiting a park of the magnitude of Keji without staying overnight is to miss a lot of the outdoor experience. The camping facilities in the park are excellent. At Jeremys Bay Campground there are three beaches, an internet station, interpretive programs, a playground and a walking trail joining the campsites to the shores of Kejimkujik Lake.

For those more adventurous there are ample facilities for wilderness or backcountry camping. Since well over three quarters of the park is accessible only on foot or by canoe, camping in the backcountry is the perfect way to explore the various ecosystems of the park. There are 46 wilderness campsites along the hiking trails and canoe routes. The Friends of Keji Cooperative Association have a map showing the location of all these campsites. Their website also makes planning your canoe or hiking trip easy with pages on hiking and canoeing distances and information on winter camping and backcountry safety.

Kejimkujik National Park is at the forefront of an important ecological initiative. Designated as a Dark Sky Preserve by the Astronomical Society of Canada, the park endeavours to create an environment limiting the effects of artificial lighting. This allows the visitors to appreciate the wonders of the night sky which are truly spectacular. A program in the summer introduces visitors to the brilliant spectacle of the heavens and explains the benefits to wildlife and plants of eliminating light pollution.

The history of canoeing in Kejimkujik stretches back to the era of its earliest inhabitants, the Maritime Archiac Indians, who travelled the rivers and lakes as they journeyed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Bay of Fundy. Subsequent indigenous peoples who inhabited the region, The Woodland Indians and then the Mi’kmaq, established campsites along the canoe route. Surviving evidence of the original dwellers in the park exists in petroglyphs or inscribed drawings of individuals in traditional dress, animals and hunting and fishing scenes. The petroglyph record of the life and activities of First Nations Peoples are precious and unique relics. These treasures can be seen only on guided walks led by park interpreters.

European colonial settlement of the park and adjoining lands involved some clearing for farming, logging and gold mining. Logging in the early years consisted of felling trees and floating them down the rivers to the Atlantic where they were delivered to sawmills. Later sawmills cut lumber on site in what is now the park itself. There are several ruins of these mills in the park.

In later years Kejikujik became a favoured escape for those seeking a wilderness experience and lodges and cabins were built around Kejimkujik Lake to accommodate the visitors. Now access to the park and its natural and human treasures is available to all who seek a close experience with a pristine Atlantic Canada wilderness.

A very special experience can be had by the hardy camper. The campground is open year round and thus is available for the unique experience of winter camping.

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