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May 14 Province’s Reminder to Practice Social Distancing in the Parks

Posted on: May 14, 2020  |  

As Manitobans and visitors make their plans for the upcoming May long-weekend, the province is reminding those who are heading out to provincial parks, campgrounds, or their cottage to follow the advice of Manitoba’s chief public health officer and practise proper social distancing. This is especially important in public areas, such as campgrounds, trails, beaches, playgrounds, washrooms and shower buildings.

Frequent cleaning and sanitization of washrooms and shower facilities within provincial parks will be in place to ensure visitors have a safe and positive experience. However, campers are asked to bring their own supplies, including items such as soap, sanitizer, hygiene products and toilet paper, to campgrounds, yurts and cabins. They are also reminded to pack required prescription drugs and medical supplies, and water shoes or sandals for use in shower facilities.

Campers should buy their park entry passes online ahead of time and be sure to print their campground reservation. At this time, to limit personal contact, reservation holders can proceed directly to their campsite when they arrive. Walk-up customers will still need to check in at the camp office.

A reminder that gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted at this time and is best to limit interactions to people within your own household. This includes socializing with neighbouring sites.

Manitobans who feel unwell should stay at home, and return home immediately if they feel ill or experience symptoms that may be COVID-19 related.  Do not use local health providers unless it is an emergency. In addition, travel is not permitted from southern Manitoba to areas, including campgrounds, north of the 53rd parallel. This is essentially anywhere north of the northern edge of Lake Winnipeg.

Due to the cool spring, some campgrounds may not have all the usual amenities operational this weekend. There is still a lot of snow on the ground at Paint Lake, Wekusko Falls and Grass River campgrounds, so nightly camping will not be available yet. However, the yurts at Paint Lake will be open. Water lines are not ready yet in Big Whiteshell Provincial Campground, which affects modern washrooms and showers. Water will be available from a water tank at the campground office.

Key reminders of what is different in Manitoba campgrounds and cottage country at this time:
•    buy provincial park entry passes online before leaving home;
•    print campground reservation confirmations and go directly to the reserved site;
•    practise social distancing;
•    no gatherings of more than 10 people;
•    bring supplies of hygiene items such as soap and toilet paper;
•    pack out trash when leaving; and
•    no travel from southern Manitoba to north of the 53rd parallel.

Conservation officers and park patrol officers will be enforcing the emergency public health orders within provincial parks. Campground attendants and park staff will also provide education and monitor compliance.

Cottagers are reminded to limit the number of additional contacts made as part of their trip. Gather supplies and fuel up near home if possible, and avoid any extra stops along the way. In addition, stay home if feeling sick, because getting ill in a smaller centre could quickly overwhelm the local health facility.

Another important annual reminder for campers is that since the emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Winnipeg, and Winnipeg remains designated as a federally regulated area, firewood cannot be moved out of Winnipeg. Anyone caught transporting firewood could be fined/charged up to $1,300 for individuals or $15,000 for businesses.

For more information on Manitoba parks, visit https://gov.mb.ca/sd/parks/index.html.

For more information on COVID measures within provincial parks, visit:
www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/restoring/phase-one.html#parks.

For more information on being careful cottagers, visit:
https://manitoba.ca/covid19/infomanitobans/cottages.html or
https://manitoba.ca/asset_library/en/coronavirus/cottages_careful_factsheet.pdf.

Manitobans can stay up to date with provincial parks news, activities and events by following @MBGovParks at www.facebook.com/MBGovParks or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBGovParks.

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Daily Parks update for Friday May 20,2022 (Note from WCA - long report with lots of new items suggest you read in full)Hello WCA, Here are the highlights of today’s information: - We have projections for the Winnipeg River for the next 10-15 days and an estimated crest of early June. - Crescent Beach seawall at West Hawk is barricaded and closed. Please pay attention to signage and do not cross barricades or flagging tape. The travel lane has been moved away from the wall and is narrow in spots, please travel slowly and pay attention to onsite signage. Cottages in the Crescent Beach, High Rock, McKenzie Beach, and Hunt Lake subdivisions should be aware of the potential for a re-route in this area in the event that damage to the boardwalk and seawall continues. - PR307 near the Rennie River/ Heart Lake Boat Launch is now closed to all traffic. Wind and wave action have cause the water in this area to continue rising today. The roadway underneath the water is rough in spots. Manitoba Parks is not advising travel to cottages and trails in the Betula Lake area. - Work was done today on the 8 Foot Falls Black Road today to raise the level of the road and help to maintain access.- Two more boat launches are closed: 8 Foot Falls and West Hawk. - Creekside loop of Old Nutimik Seasonal campground is now closed and campers have been asked to remove their units. Whiteshell Provincial Park: May 20, 2022Water continue to along the lakes that make up the Winnipeg River system. Nutimik, Dorothy, Margaret, Eleanor, and Sylvia Lakes as well as the river near the Pointe du Bois subdivision continue to rise as water moves from Lake of the Woods through the Winnipeg River system. Water levels rise quickly in these areas due to natural restrictions of water along the river. Manitoba Hydro has provided an estimate today (May 20) that we can expect the following increases above current level of the Winnipeg River over the next 10-15 days: 8 Foot Falls - 1.2 Feet, Nutimik Lake - 2.1 Feet, Dorothy Lake – 1.9 Feet, 2.2 – Margaret/ Eleanor Lake, and 2.3 Feet – Sylvia Lake. The Winnipeg River is expected to crest in early June. Water levels remain high throughout Whiteshell Provincial Park. Caddy, Falcon, West Hawk, Star, and Brereton are reporting a slight decrease in levels today compared to yesterday. Jessica, White, and Betula Lakes all reported a small increase today from yesterday. Crescent Beach seawall at West Hawk is barricaded and closed. Please pay attention to signage and do not cross barricades or flagging tape. The travel lane has been moved away from the wall and is narrow in spots, please travel slowly and pay attention to onsite signage. Cottages in the Crescent Beach, High Rock, McKenzie Beach, and Hunt Lake subdivisions should be aware of the potential for a re-route in this area in the event that damage to the boardwalk and seawall continues. Manitoba Parks staff are working in conjunction with staff from the department of Manitoba, Transportation and Infrastructure to monitor lake levels and adjust control structures where possible. A large sandbagging machine is in operation making prefilled sandbags for distribution at the Otter Falls Ball Diamond. Please be careful when attending this location, expect a staff person to be directing traffic, and that you may have to wait for large equipment to clear. Sandbag production will be ongoing from 9am to 7pm daily weather permitting. Pre-filled sandbags are being moved to sand and sandbag filling stations below as supply allows. In the past three days we have made approximately 30,000 sandbags for distribution. Sandbags for filling and sand are available for cottage owners at: the 8 Foot Falls Road in Pointe du Bois, the Otter Falls Ball Diamond, across from Nutimik Maintenance Yard, the Betula Ball Diamond, Jessica Lake at the garbage collection site, the parking lot across from Brereton Lake Resort, the West Hawk maintenance yard, and the causeway at Falcon Lake. There is also a limited amount of pre-filled sandbags available at the 8-Foot Falls location. PR307 near the Rennie River/ Heart Lake Boat Launch is now closed to all traffic. Wind and wave action have cause the water in this area to continue rising today. The roadway underneath the water is rough in spots. Manitoba Parks is not advising travel to cottages and trails in the Betula Lake area. PR 307 between Betula Lake and White Lake, and PR 312 near Caddy Lake is closed. Water is present on the highway at: PTH 44 near McGillvray Falls, PR 309 near Meditation Lake, PR 307 near Jessica Lake and PR 313 to Pointe du Bois. PR309 is very rough from the junction of PR 307 to Big Whiteshell, please use caution when travelling in this area. We encourage everyone to check manitoba511.ca before travelling (you can also call 511 anywhere in Manitoba to get updates by phone). Water is present on several block roads throughout the park. The following block roads should not be crossed in a smaller vehicle until the water recedes: High Rock Road at West Hawk (12” deep), Jessica Lake Block 5-6-7-8 (19” deep), White Lake Block 4 (16” deep), and Otter Falls Block 4 (6-14” deep). Several other block roads in the Otter Falls area and throughout the park have water on the roadways. Caution should be used when travelling through flooded areas. Work was done today on the 8 Foot Falls Black Road today to raise the level of the road and help to maintain access. The following boat launches are closed: 8 Foot Falls, West Hawk, Big Creek, Otter Falls, White Lake, Jessica Lake, Rennie River/ Heart Lake, Nutimik Lake Block 1, Nutimik Campground, Opapiskaw, South Shore Big Whiteshell, Toniata, Brereton Lake North Shore (Inverness Falls), and Falcon Beach Campground. All boat traffic should be cautious of debris and items submerged below the surface. Manitoba Park staff continue to actively monitor the floating bog at Caddy Lake, and address the bog as required on a proactive basis. The bog is not impacting the outflow of Caddy Lake. To minimize potential erosion caused by boat wakes, recreational motor boat restrictions are in place. Recreational motor boat traffic is prohibited from operating within 100 metres of the shoreline on: West Hawk, Falcon, Caddy, Star, Brereton, Jessica, White, Big Whiteshell, Betula, Nutimik, Dorothy, Margaret and Eleanor Lakes in Whiteshell Provincial Park. When exiting or approaching the shoreline, boats should move directly out from land and avoid creating a wake. The following hiking trails are closed: Pine Point Rapids, Forester’s Footsteps, Bannock Point, Alfred Hole, the Marsh Trail (between Falcon Lake Marina and Beach Campground), TransCanada Trail at Penniac Bay, and Hunt Lake. The Mantario Hiking Trail, Mantario Canoe Route and Caddy Lake Tunnels are closed. Extreme caution should be used with travelling the upstream portion of the Winnipeg River (Pointe du Bois to Lamprey Falls). Backcountry Campsites above Lamprey Falls are closed due to flooding. Campers should check the Manitoba Parks homepage for the status of campgrounds prior to coming to the park. Several campgrounds have full or partial closures. Otter Falls, Betula, and White Lake Campgrounds are closed. Individual site closures are in place at Nutimik Lake and Opapiskaw Campgrounds. Creekside loop of Old Nutimik Seasonal campground is now closed and campers have been asked to remove their units. If cottagers have any questions, concerns or urgent matters regarding the high water please contact Manitoba Parks at 204-340-6769 between 8am and 6pm daily. To report an emergency please contact the RCMP via 911 if located in the South Whiteshell, 204-348-7177 in the North Whiteshell, and 204-345-8685 in Pointe du Bois. Inquires regarding camping or normal operations should can be directed to the regular inquiry line at 1-800-214-6497. ... See MoreSee Less
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J Lynn Kath-Sopka – “West hawk lake right now” (Friday 2pm) ... See MoreSee Less
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Lake levels report for Friday May 20th SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THOSE ON WINNIPEG RIVER - includes Forecast from Manitoba Hydro• No readings for Brereton• Only sporadic readings for Betula & Big Whiteshell• Rest as of May 19thSome reports this morning from cottagers that some lakes (Jessica, White area) starting to rise a bit again after stabilizing a bit ... See MoreSee Less
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Cindy Reynolds – “Crescent Beach - West Hawk Lake. The wall is starting to lean towards the lake and creating a gap between the wall and sidewalk. Wind, rain/snow and waves aren’t helping!” ... See MoreSee Less
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