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WHITESHELL WATER UPDATE: JUNE 20

Posted on: June 21, 2022  |  

Manitoba Parks provided the following update today

Whiteshell Provincial Park: June 20, 2022

Betula Lake subdivision will open tomorrow, June 21 to local traffic only at 12pm and the park closure in the area will be rescinded at the same time. PR307 will open from the south only (through Rennie and past White Lake). PR307 to the north of Betula will remain closed due to high water on the highway.

The area will 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.

The state of local emergency is still in placed due to high water levels throughout the park and expires July 18. Manitoba Parks is continuously evaluating the situation and will rescind the order if it is no longer required.

Park residents returning to Betula Lake must plan to access from PR307 south of Betula and can expect to travel through floodwaters. There are two long areas of highway under water up to 15cm (6”) on the centreline, one stretch is over 700 metres long. Permanent residents in Betula will be contacted directly by Manitoba Parks. Anyone travelling through the flood waters should travel to local conditions, plan to travel during daylight hours and be aware that conditions may change with environmental factors like precipitation and wind. The Betula Lake pump house will be operating under a boil water order until water can be tested.

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. The section of PR307 south of Nutimik Lake and north of Betula remains closed due to high water at the Rennie River/ Heart Lake crossing.

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. Manitoba Transportation is starting to mobilize tomorrow (June 21) to remove the gravel and this is expected to be completed this week. We will provide updates as the work progresses.

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 has crested and is slowly receding, but is expected to remain high for the next number numbers of weeks.

Water levels continue to improve on all lakes outside of the Winnipeg River system. 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:

–        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.

At Eleanor Lake,  Block 2, the east entrance Block 3 including the access for Lots 1 to 4, and Block 3 are now open. 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.

Jessica Lake boat launch is now open. The following boat launches are closed: 8 Foot Falls, Big Creek, Otter Falls, Opapiskaw, Dorothy, Block 1 Nutimik, New Nutimik, White Lake, Betula, 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 Marsh Trail (between Falcon Lake Marina and Beach Campground), and Whiteshell River Trail are now open. The following hiking trails are closed: Pine Point Rapids, Forester’s Footsteps, Bannock Point Petroforms, TCT from White Lake to the west park gate, red suspension bridge trail to Sturgeon Falls, and Hunt Lake Hiking Trail.

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.

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