Manitoba Parks provided the following update today:
A local state of emergency has been declared for Whiteshell Provincial Park on May 20, 2022 due to rising water levels within the park. Developed areas at Betula Lake were closed on May 21, 2022. This closure area was expanded (May 24) to include Sylvia Lake, Otter Falls, Dorothy Lake, Barrier Bay and Nutimik Lake areas. No person should reside or enter into the closed area. Please visit the Manitoba Parks Website https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/parks/ to see a map of the closure. This applies to all cottage subdivisions, commercial areas, campgrounds, group use, day use, recreational and picnic areas, playgrounds, trails, and beaches with within the order area. During the closure no person should reside or enter into the closure area of the park.
Manitoba Hydro released information on May 27 regarding the expected continued high water flows on the Winnipeg River. Water continues to rise significantly 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. Please see https://www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/facilities/water_levels/ to view the forecast.
Manitoba Hydro is predicating an increase of water levels from the May 27 water level, expected to occur between June 5-10, as follows:
- 6 inches upstream of Eight Foot Falls.
- 10 inches in Nutimik Lake.
- 9 inches in Dorothy Lake.
- 11 inches in Margaret/Eleanor Lake.
- 1 foot in Sylvia Lake.
- 8 inches upstream of Silver Falls.
The Winnipeg River is expected to crest between June 5-10. Rising water levels and rapidly evolving conditions pose a significant risk to public safety. Stay alert to changing weather conditions and always be prepared for emergency situations, please see Emergency Measures Organization | Province of Manitoba (gov.mb.ca) for information to help you prepare. Manitoba Parks continues to monitor safety and water levels inside the closure area, additional safety measures may be applied if required.
Manitoba Parks has been notified Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure (MTI) is building up PR307 in seven strategic locations to provide a one lane gravel emergency access road, approximately 12″ higher than the current grade. Work is scheduled to start Monday, May 30. This is to keep PR307 passable during the predicted extended period of forecasted floodwaters and allow for Manitoba Parks to maintain critical infrastructure. As plans firm up, Manitoba Parks will provide additional details. During construction, portions of PR307 may be completely impassable for periods of several hours. This will be communicated through the WCA, Manitobaparks.com, and the park flood info line.
Manitoba Parks has been contacting all permanent residents in the closure area. If you have not been contacted by Manitoba Parks staff to register, please call the parks line at 204-340-6769 and leave a message with your name, lot, block, subdivision, and ask to be added to the permanent residents list. You will then be called back to register.
Water levels improvement are being seen in all areas south of the Winnipeg River. Falcon, West Hawk, Star, Caddy, Brereton, White, Jessica, and Big Whiteshell Lakes are reporting a decrease today.
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. This includes monitoring structures for blockages.
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.
Sandbags for filling and sand are available for cottage owners at: the 8 Foot Falls Road in Pointe du Bois, 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 are a limited number of pre-filled bags at the Jessica Lake and Pointe du Bois depots.
PR 307 from the west park entrance 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. We encourage everyone to check manitoba511.ca before travelling. You can call 511 anywhere in Manitoba to get updates by phone.
Water is present on several block roads throughout the park. White Lake Block 4 is closed to vehicle use. The following block roads should not be crossed in a smaller vehicle until the water recedes: High Rock Road at West Hawk, and Jessica Lake Block 5-6-7-8. Caution should be used when travelling through flooded areas.
The following boat launches are closed in addition to those in the park closure area: 8 Foot Falls, Big Creek, White Lake, Jessica Lake, South Shore Big Whiteshell, and Toniata. West Hawk and Falcon Beach Campground Boat launches have been re-opened. Public can expect open launches to be without docks, high water is preventing repair and placement of docks throughout the park.
Please use caution and courtesy when boating. All boat traffic should be cautious of debris and items submerged below the surface. Please be advised that you cannot visit the closed area of the park by boat. Access is not allowed to your cottage or recreational areas via the Winnipeg River. No landing in the closed area is allowed. Extreme caution should be used with travelling the upstream portion of the Winnipeg River (Pointe du Bois to Lamprey Falls).
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, Eleanor Lakes, and the shoreline adjacent to the Pointe du Bois subdivision 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 in addition to those in the park closure area: the Marsh Trail (between Falcon Lake Marina and Beach Campground) and Hunt Lake. TransCanada Trail at Penniac Bay has reopened with wet spots existing on trail. All backcountry campsites in Whiteshell Provincial park are closed due to flooding, high water conditions and frequently changing portage conditions.
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. All campground in the closure area will remain closed until this portion of the park reopens (Dorothy Lake, Opapiskaw, Nutimik Lake, and Otter Falls). In addition, White Lake Campground is closed (seasonal and nightly) and nightly camping is closed in Big Whiteshell Campground.
Phone Numbers/ Websites:
- Parks info line for water, flood and closures: 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.
- Camping Information 1-888-482-2267 for the Parks Reservation Service.
- Environment, Climate and Parks General inquiry line 1-800-214-6497.
- Highway conditions: Manitoba511.ca
- Manitoba Parks: manitobapark.com for a list of other closures.
- Manitoba Hydro Water Flow New Release: https://www.hydro.mb.ca/articles/2022/05/manitoba_hydro_advises_extreme_caution_on_waterways/
- DFA Information: https://www.gov.mb.ca/emo/dfa/residence.html, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 204-945-3050.
- Emergency Measures Organization https://www.gov.mb.ca/emo/