This 950 sq km (367 sq mi) park, located in the northern part of Cape Breton Island of the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia, was created in 1936 to protect about 20% of northern Cape Breton.
About one-third of the Cabot Trail, a world-famous scenic highway, runs through the park.
The dominant features of the park are forested high plateau, the deep canyons, and the coastal cliffs. The cool, maritime climate and the rugged topography provide for Acadian, boreal, and taiga landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife within the park.
Summers are warm, the winters cold, and the precipitation moderate. Daily weather is unpredictable. Tropical marine storms with torrential rains occur in late summer. Winds are strong on the west coast.
Among the important geological features of the park are the faults, particularly Aspy Fault which extends for 30 km (19 miles)from the centre of the highlands to the ocean. The highlands are a result of major geological changes, including igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic processes and erosion and glaciation.
The bedrock core includes granite, schist, and gneiss. Numerous small, acidic lakes of glacial origin are located in the highlands. A few alkaline barrier beach ponds occur on the coast.
Aboriginal peoples have used the northern part of Cape Breton Island seasonally for 10,000 years and inhabited it for 5,000 years. For the past 2,000 years, the inhabitants have been the Maritime Archaic Mi’kmaq.
Europeans arrived here in the 1500s for fishing. Settlement took place from the mid 1600s to the mid 1700s.Today, the national park and the Cabot Trail are the main tourist attractions of Nova Scotia.
See also: National Parks of Canada.
(This page was updated in November 2012.)