I just received the following email from Manitoba Parks regarding the status of the lower campground and infrastructure at Kiche Manitou Campground in Spruce Woods Provincial Park.
Dear Camping Customer:
The campground closure for Kiche Manitou Lower Campground in Spruce
Woods Provincial Park has been extended to include the remainder of the 2011
Buildings and infrastructure have been submerged by flood waters for
nearly two months. Now in early June, water levels have still not fully
receded. Clean-up and re-building is expected to be substantial. The upper
level campground that includes nightly campsites, yurts and group use will
continue to be in operation.
Customers with existing reservations in the lower campground may
cancel or make changes on-line at manitobaparks.com or contact our call centre
directly at 1-888-482-2267 or in Winnipeg at 948-3333.
We truly regret the inconvenience that these closures may mean to
your holiday plans, but feel it is our responsibility to let you know as soon as
possible so that you might make alternative arrangements. If we can be of any
assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us through our call centre or at
We appreciate your patience; and, as always we look forward to seeing
you in one of our provincial parks in 2011!
Highway access to Spruce Woods Provincial Park is still closed as Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure tries to keep ahead of road closures and repairs. It will be at least two more weeks before the highway reopens. Park attractions like Spirit Sands, Punchbowl and hiking trails all remain closed and off-limits due to flooding.
For the latest information, check Manitoba highway closures and conditions on an interactive map here.
WHAT A DAY!
After a week of heavy rain and high winds, we have arrived at phase two of the 2011 “high water event” with new flooding in many parts of the province, new states of emergency and new evacuations. Deloraine, Ochre River RM and Miniota RM have all declared states of emergency due to overland flooding, Brandon and several other RMs have extended their states of emergency, Ste Rose du Lac has closed its ring dike against water from the Turtle River for the first time in 25 years, Brandon just received another three-quarters of an inch of rain in 45 minutes this morning, golf-ball size hail pounded southwestern Manitoba today, dozens of roads are closed due to new washouts, inundations stretch more than a kilometer inland from the shore of Lake Manitoba around St. Laurent, the Souris River is rising quickly and residents around much of Lake Manitoba’s south basin have been evacuated while their homes and cottages are eaten away by the rising water. The surging water and waves swamped dikes, tossed debris and even broke some cottages in half on Tuesday. Sixteen people had to be rescued by boat and one resident had to be pulled out by helicopter. Lake Manitoba is still two weeks away from its crest so many residents around the lake probably won’t be able to return to their properties this summer.
Meanwhile, our head-in-the-sand provincial government still pretends that the Portage Diversion, which today is releasing 16,000 cubic feet of water per second into Lake Manitoba, did not cause this vast lakeshore destruction. Manitoba Water Stewardship and their “minister” are claiming the natural flows from the Whitemud and Waterhen Rivers are causing the high water levels in Lake Manitoba, thus the flood is due to “natural causes.” The government’s own water flow numbers don’t support this ridiculous claim. The amount of water supplied to the lake by these two streams is small compared to the Diversion’s contribution. In fact, the outflow from Lake Manitoba is about equal to the inflow of both rivers thus cancelling out their effect. Add in the man-made Portage Diversion and you have current conditions. Politicians unable to tell the truth who spend their day covering their asses abound here now. The NDP faces an election this fall so they will go to any length to shift blame but, unlucky for them, there aren’t any other places where the blame can land except on their heads.
On that note, let me expound a bit on the events at Hoop and Holler Bend last month. First the opening of the dike was touted as essential to save hundreds of properties between Portage and Winnipeg, then it was demoted to a just-in-case measure and then they closed it after a few days when they realized people had caught on to what it was all about. In retrospect Hoop and Holler was nothing more than a desperate publicity stunt to make Selinger look like he saved the province. The puny amounts of water that flowed through the cut made an insignificant difference in the Assiniboine’s flow but caused major inconvenience for the affected properties. Part two of the Hoop and Holler plan was the compensation package where the government appears completely benevolent covering 100% of costs. What a great guy Selinger is, eh? The photo op of Charleton Selinger parting the Red River has been put on a back burner, for now.
As I write this today in Winnipeg, thunderstorms have been passing overhead with some rain and lots of wind tossing the fully-leafed elms around. The unstable weather is predicted to continue into next week over southern Manitoba. We have entered phase two of our flood and approach the heart of darkness.