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WHITESHELL WATER UPDATE: JUNE 17

Posted on: June 17, 2022  |   , ,

Manitoba Parks provided the following update today

Whiteshell Provincial Park: June 17, 2022

The state of local emergency was extended for Whiteshell Provincial Park today due to the continued high water levels throughout the park. The original order was set to expire June 19 after being declared on May 20. The new order expires July 18. Manitoba Parks is continuously evaluating the situation and will rescind the order if it is no longer required.

Betula Lake subdivision will remain closed until the water recedes on the highway and allows for safe access. The highway access is being assessed daily to be able to open the roadway as soon as safe. There are two long areas of highway under water, one stretch is over 700 metres long and the second is 300 metres. Permanent residents in Betula will be contacted directly by Manitoba Parks once a date is announced to open the area.

During the closure no person should reside or enter into the closure area of the park. Please visit ManitobaParks.com to see a map of the closure. Water continues to slowly recede along the highway and Betula Lake itself. Recreational facilities in the area remain above lake level and are high and dry.

PR 307 starting from the west park gate and past Sylvia Lake, Eleanor Lake, Otter Falls, Dorothy Lake, Barrier Bay, and Nutimik Lake is open to permanent residents, cottagers, and public staying in the resorts. Recreational infrastructure will remain closed in this area including: boat launches, campgrounds, group use, day use, recreational and picnic areas, playgrounds, trails, and beaches.

Portions of the road were gravelled to raise the road grade above the flood water. Signal lights, signage, and reduced speeds will be in place at these locations. Please drive to conditions. Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure is looking at options for removal of the emergency gravel road and restore regular access to this portion of the park. We expect more information next week.

Manitoba Hydro released their 7-14 day forecast for the Winnipeg River today (June 17). Please see https://www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/facilities/water_levels/. The Winnipeg River crested last week, but is expected to remain high for the next number numbers of weeks. Over the next 7-14 days Manitoba Hydro forecasts:

  • 2 inches decrease upstream of Eight Foot Falls
  • 7 inches decrease in Nutimik Lake
  • 6 inches decrease in Dorothy Lake
  • 6.5 inches decrease Margaret/Eleanor Lake
  • 6 inches decrease Sylvia Lake

Water levels continue to improve on all lakes outside of the Winnipeg River system. Brereton Lake is no longer considered to be high water. Other lakes throughout the park (Falcon, West Hawk, Caddy, Jessica, White Lake, Betula) continue to drop but remain higher than normal.  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.

Water is present on several block roads throughout the park. The following block roads are flooded and barricaded:

–        Eleanor Lake – Block 2, the east entrance Block 3, and access for Lots 1 to 4 on Block 3,

–        Otter Falls – Block 1, Block 2-3, and Block 4

–        Barrier Bay – Block 1,

You may be able to access properties in this area by foot or canoe. Please do not block roads or driveways when parking a vehicle at these barricades.

Nutimik Lake Block 1, Jessica Lake Block 5-6-7-8, and White Lake Block 4 are open but should not be crossed in a smaller vehicles until the water recedes. Caution should be used when travelling through flooded areas.

Crescent Beach seawall at West Hawk is barricaded and closed. Pay attention to signage, and barricades. The travel lane has been moved away from the wall and is narrow in spots, please travel slowly.

Cottagers and residents looking to dispose of sandbags can empty the sand into the piles at the original depot locations: the 8 Foot Falls Road in Pointe du Bois, Otter Falls Ball Diamond, Nutimik Boat Launch across from the maintenance yard, 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. Sand should not be dumped off docks or into waterbodies, as this is harmful to fish and other aquatic plants and animals.

General information about returning and cleaning up after a flood can be found online here:  www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/spring_outlook/after_flood_booklet.pdf.

The following boat launches are closed in addition to the Betula closure area: 8 Foot Falls, Big Creek, Otter Falls, Opapiskaw, Dorothy, Block 1 Nutimik, New Nutimik, White Lake, Jessica Lake, and South Shore Big Whiteshell. Public can expect open launches to be without docks, high water is preventing repair and placement of docks throughout the park.

 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 shorelines on West Hawk, Falcon, Caddy, Star, Brereton, Jessica, White, Big Whiteshell, Betula, Nutimik, Dorothy, Margaret, Eleanor, and the shoreline adjacent to the Pointe du Bois subdivision. When exiting or approaching the shoreline, boats should move directly out from land and avoid creating a wake. Please use caution and courtesy when boating. All boat traffic should be cautious of debris and items submerged below the surface. Extreme caution should be used with travelling the upstream portion of the Winnipeg River (Pointe du Bois to Lamprey Falls).

The following hiking trails are closed in addition to those in the park closure area: Pine Point, Forester’s Footsteps, Bannock Point Petroforms, TCT from White Lake to the west park gate, red suspension bridge trail to Sturgeon Falls, the Marsh Trail (between Falcon Lake Marina and Beach Campground), Whiteshell River, and Hunt Lake.

Backcountry routes and campsites are open throughout the park, with the exception of: the Whiteshell River between White Lake and the Winnipeg River, the campsites above Lamprey Falls on the Winnipeg River, and the Caddy Lake tunnels.

Campers should check ManitobaParks.com for the status of campgrounds prior to coming to the park. Otter Falls, Nutimik, Dorothy, Opapiskaw, and Betula Campgrounds are closed to both nightly and seasonal camping at this time. Big Whiteshell campground is open to nightly camping starting today (June 17).

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