Now is the time to start planning your summer camping adventure. Reservations for the camping season (2021) in our provincial parks open April 6, 7 and 8. All campers must reserve their campsites in advance of their visitation.

A schedule of which campgrounds are open for reservations is posted on the Nova Scotia Provincial Park website. For those of us in Colchester North, please note that the Five Islands Provincial Park season opens on June 4 and closes on October 11.

Other camping and day-use parks are scheduled to open on Victoria Day Weekend (May 21-24). There are 20 camping parks and more than 130 day-use and beach parks in Nova Scotia. I encourage all of us to take advantage of the great outdoors, to enjoy the beauty of our province and to safely explore many sites this summer.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all public health guidelines must be followed, and new restrictions may impact the date for reservations and park openings. I would encourage visiting the following website for additional and updated information:

https://parks.novascotia.ca/

As a precaution, we must also respect the burn restrictions, which came into effect on March 15, and continue to October 15. Warmer and drier weather each spring brings on an increased risk of wildfires. That is why we must put safety first before starting an outdoor fire.

Our provincial BurnSafe map shows areas where burning is permitted each day, including domestic brush burning and campfires. Industrial burning, which includes clearing of agricultural land and blueberry fields requires a permit from the Department of Lands & Forestry.

Following the burn restrictions and knowing your municipal bylaws will help keep all of us safe, and protect our personal properties and those of our neighbours and friends. Last year in Nova Scotia our provincial firefighters responded to 171 wildfires. We need to work together to significantly decrease that number. For additional information on the map, please visit our website at:

https://novascotia.ca/burnsafe

Let me close by wishing you a safe and happy spring and summer, and trust that the great job our province has done with managing the COVID-19 pandemic will continue. Our province is the envy of the nation and beyond. Thanks to all of you for respecting public health guidelines. We are in this together, and together we will overcome the virus.

Karen Casey, MLA

Colchester North