Basin Head Provincial Park
Basin Head Provincial Park is a provincial park located in Basin Head, Prince Edward Island, Canada. It is best known by its nickname "Singing Sands", in reference to the pure white sand that "sings" as you walk through it, due to a high silica content. This sand is geologically unique to the area. Basin Head is also known for its expert lifeguards.
Basin Head Provincial Park features a fisheries museum, souvenir shops, and interpretive center. The beach itself is split into two sections, divided by a channel (known locally as the 'run'). A bridge spans the 'run', and is a popular attraction for jumping and diving. It is open as a tourist attraction, operated by Tourism PEI, during the summer months.
Basin Head received its name from its wide, hollow bowl shaped form, like a basin. For many years it was a productive fishing area, with many local fisherman making their living fishing off shore. In 1937, it was decided to build a harbour and maintain a wharf at Basin Head. Much dredging was done, and the result was the large sand dunes on the beach which still remain today. The harbour was opened in 1938, and dredged again in 1959. In the peak time of fishing at the Basin there were about 25-30 boats fishing out of Basin Head. As many as twenty shacks owned by many of the fishermen were also located on the cape, along with a bunkhouse that housed at least twenty or more people. This was Basin Head's most productive era.
In 1973, the Basin Head Fisheries Museum was built under the direction of the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation and was open to the public. In 1995-96 huge renovations took place on the site by the Eastern Kings Development Association. This included a board walk which features access to the magnificent "Singing Sands" white sandy beach, gift shops, food, and beach services and a children's play village.
The Basin Head area is rich with natural attractions. As mentioned above, one of the most unusual aspects of the beach is the sands high silica content. This silica, when heated by the sun, produces a high pitched squeaking sound when rubbed together. Dragging your feet through the sand is enough is elicit this effect.
The tidal lagoon behind the dunes is habitat for a variety of Giant Irish Moss called Chondrus crispus. This is the only place in the world that it is found. To protect the unique strain of Giant Irish Moss and its habitat, the Basin Head watershed is designated a Marine Protected Area.
This particular strain of Irish Moss called Chondrus crispus, is also referred to as Giant Moss. It is distinctive because it has a unique life cycle, does not attach to the bottom and is significantly larger than the normal plant found elsewhere. In addition, it has a higher concentration of carrageen, a stabilizing and thickening agent used in many household products.