Parks Canada introduced something new for campers in summer 2016, the unique Cocoon Tree Bed: a comfortable camping bubble suspended high in the trees above Ingonish Beach in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It was the first ever of its kind in Canada.
What is a cocoon tree bed? The bubble-shaped cocoon is made of treated canvas on a steel frame and sways gently in the breeze about 20 feet above the ground, attached to several trees with tight wires. A steep wooden staircase leads to the “front door”. Inside, two hatches serve as open-air windows. The mattress, which covers the entire floor area, is comfortable and sleeps four people, although Parks Canada staff recommend that the Cocoon is best suited to two.
The Cocoon is reached by a vigorous uphill walk which leads to a remote clearing. The nearest bathrooms are down the hill at the main campground, and there is no electricity – or nearby access to drinking water. This is adventure camping!
The Parks Canada Cocoon Tree Bed is one of a kind, and is was first trialled at the park for the 2016 season. If successful, more Cocoons may be introduced in National Parks across Canada.
The Cocoon is only one of many innovations that have been offered to Parks Canada visitors in recent years. The oTENTik now exists at most Parks Canada campgrounds, offering large and comfortable ready-made camping spaces, perfect for families and new campers. Many campgrounds across the country also have yurts and tipis as an option.
Other alternative camping set-ups at Parks Canada include a rustic cabin at Fundy National Park, and a fashionable tiny house at Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. “We’re looking for new ways for Canadians too connect with nature”, says Kelly Deveaux, Visitor Experience Manager for the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The Cocoon Tree Bed is no longer in Cape Breton, but to to book oTENTik and other accommodations: www.pccamping.ca or 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783)
For permission to use photos, please contact Helen Earley