Water levels are slowly dropping on some lakes in the Whiteshell.
Manitoba Parks is reporting that Falcon, West Hawk, Caddy, Brereton and Star lakes all reported a slight decrease in levels on Wednesday. Jessica Lake saw no change, while White Lake and Betula Lake reported a slight increase.
Water continues to rise 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 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.
There are sandbags available at several locations for cottage owners, including 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. Most of these locations include sandbags for filling as well as sand. However, at the Otter Falls ball diamond, a large sandbagging machine is in operation making prefilled sandbags for distribution.
According to the province on Wednesday, water on Provincial Road (PR) 307 near the Rennie River/ Heart Lake boat launch rose nine inches in a 12 hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday. Travel is not recommended from this location south to Betula Lake. Cottagers at Betula Lake are advised that the highway will close if the water makes crossing unsafe. Any cottagers that remain at Betula should be prepared to be isolated without road access for several days or longer. Manitoba Parks is asking that anyone who is not already at Betula Lake to not attend or travel to their cottage until water recedes.
PR 307 between Betula Lake and White Lake remains closed. PR 312 near Caddy Lake is closed as water is still rising in this area. Water is covering the highways on PTH 44 near McGillvray Falls, PR 309 near Meditation Lake, and PR 307 near the Rennie River/ Heart Lake Boat Launch. The PR 309 and PR 307 flooded areas are rough in spots.
Water is present on several block roads throughout the park. High Rock Road at West Hawk, Jessica Lake Block 5-6-7-8, White Lake Block 4 and several block roads in the Otter Falls area all have larger areas of water on the roadways. Caution should be used when travelling through flooded areas.
The following boat launches are closed: Big Creek, Otter Falls, White Lake, Jessica Lake, Rennie River/ Heart Lake, Nutimik Lake Block 1, Nutimik Campground Boat Launch, 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 are aware of floating bog present at Caddy Lake. Staff are actively monitoring the situation and addressing 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, Hunt Lake, and Falcon Creek. The Mantario Hiking Trail, Mantario Canoe Route and Caddy Lake tunnels are closed.
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. Opapiskaw, Betula, and White Lake campgrounds are closed. Individual site closures are in place at Nutimik Lake Campground.
If cottagers have any questions, concerns or urgent matters regarding the high water, they are asked to contact Manitoba Parks at 204-340-6769 between 8 am and 6 pm daily.