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Posted on: May 21, 2022  |  

Manitoba Parks has shared the following update today:

A local state of emergency has been declared for Whiteshell Provincial Park effective from May 20, 2022 to June 19, 2022 due to rising river and lake levels within the park. In addition, all developed areas at Betula Lake are closed. No person should reside or enter into the closed area.  Please visit the Manitoba Parks Website see a map of the closure.

Water continues to rise along the lakes that make up the Winnipeg River system (Nutimik, Dorothy, Margaret, Eleanor, and Sylvia Lakes as well as Pointe du Bois) as water moves downstream from Lake of the Woods. Water levels rise quickly in these areas due to natural restrictions along the river.  Manitoba Hydro provided an estimate yesterday (May 20) for following increases above the 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. Falcon, West Hawk, Star, and Brereton are reporting a slight decrease or remaining stable today compared to yesterday. Caddy, Jessica, and White Lakes all reported a small increase today from yesterday.  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.

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. Cottages in the Crescent Beach, High Rock, McKenzie Beach, and Hunt Lake subdivisions should be aware of the potential for a re-route in the event of further damage to the seawall.

A large sandbagging machine is in operation making prefilled sandbags for distribution at the Otter Falls Ball Diamond. Please be patient when attending this location, 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 the sand and sandbag filling stations below as supply allows.

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. Approximately 23,000 sand bags have been made and distributed today.

PR 307 near the Rennie River/ Heart Lake Boat Launch south to the PR307/309 junction, and PR 312 near Caddy Lake is closed to all traffic. PR 309 near Meditation Lake is restricted to local traffic only as of today (May 21).  Water may be present on the highway at: PTH 44 near McGillivray Fall and PR 309 near Jessica Lake depending on wind direction.   We encourage everyone to 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, Jessica Lake Block 5-6-7-8, White Lake Block 4, and Otter Falls Block 4. 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.

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.

If cottagers have any questions, concerns or urgent matters regarding the high water please contact Manitoba Parks at 204-340-6769 between 8am and 6pmdaily.  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.

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