Click the pic to check out my video of the wild summer storm that raged through Winnipeg Sunday evening and see its aftermath on my street.
Tag Archives: damage
Last year at this time the Assiniboine River was in full flood, threatening wide areas of Manitoba. The surging water had already taken out the infrastructure for the Stockton Ferry, a small pull ferry that spans the Assiniboine linking two gravel roads. Watch last year’s video report.
At one time there were 150 river ferries operating in Manitoba, most of them like the Stockton Ferry – able to carry one or two car/buggy passenger loads and still remain more economical than bridge building. Operating since 1887, the Stockton Ferry was the last river ferry in Manitoba.
As you can see in the picture and my 2012 video report, the ferry is still beached. Flood damage was substantial but work is underway to reconstruct the system. No word on when the service might be operating again.
Last Friday I took a drive out to Spruce Woods Park to see how the little park overwintered. Park workers have cleaned up most of the debris that cluttered the ditches. The plastic and metal grid dams that were washed away and strewn about the park have been removed. Some infill in wash-out areas, such as around the park sign and in ditches where water stood all last year, has been done. The huge pile of trees next to the bridge has been removed, likely providing the park with firewood for the next five years. The low road to the campground is still impassable and there remains plenty of evidence of the flood’s impact on the landscape.
According to Manitoba Parks, the entire lower campground (bays 1 – 7) and all the campground buildings at Kiche Manitou in Spruce Woods were completely destroyed by the floodwaters. Currently the department is assessing damages and planning reconstruction, however, the lower campground will NOT be open for the 2012 season. The upper campground and yurts will still be available.
I stopped at the trailhead of Spirit Sands and took a few pictures. Though they never moved all last summer, the three covered wagons await their horses and a flood of tourists to carry out to the dunes. Other than the lower campground closure and most of the trail system needing repairs, the park will operate more or less as usual this year. I’m looking forward to watching the natural changes the park will undergo this summer.
The status of several other provincial parks damaged by flooding last year remains uncertain. The department is reporting that availability of parks around Lake Manitoba inundated by high lake levels will vary. Since its campground and park infrastructure were completely destroyed, camping at St. Ambroise Park will not be offered this year. Also on the lake, Watchorn Park was damaged badly and assessments are currently underway, but it’s uncertain whether camping will be available this year. The campgrounds at Rainbow Beach and Manipogo Parks are now under repair with the intent that they’ll be open on May 11. Lundar Beach Park suffered extensive damage and, although repairs are underway, availability of camping this summer is uncertain. Slowly our parks will bounce back.
There have been changes this year in Manitoba Parks. Camping fees have increased slightly, between $1.05 and $3.15 depending on services offered. Park entry fees will be charged this year, ending three pleasant years of free park entry. Annual permits are just $30, amongst the lowest in Canada. Three-day passes are $8 and single day is $4. Permits are required after May 1 and can be purchased by mid-April at any Manitoba conservation office including campground offices, large stores like Canadian Tire and small stores that cater to fishers and hunters.
The Manitoba Provincial Parks Reservation System kicks into life tomorrow, April 2, 2012 at 7:30 a.m. They should have the latest information on campground availability around the province. In Winnipeg call 948-3333, elsewhere toll-free 1-888-482-2267. Their website is manitobaparks.com
The mighty Assiniboine that caused havoc last year at this time is a much more peaceful river today as you can see. Here it’s rounding the bend at Spirit Sands trailhead. I’ll have many more reports on Spruce Woods Park and my other travels this summer on my blog. Stay tuned. Happy trails!
I just spent two days in Yurt #4 at Spruce Woods Provincial Park and brought back three video reports of the damage the little park sustained. It’s sad!
The main access road – Hwy #5 – is a broken highway with washouts fifteen feet deep and spanning hundreds of yards. The bridge over the Assiniboine held but serious washouts occurred on both sides of it. The prospects for doing anything other than camping or yurting at the park this year are dim. One park attendant told me there is a slim possibility Spirit Sands may be accessible before the year is out but I’m not counting on it, judging by the condition of the highway, access roads and the continuing high water levels. Although full moon night was clear and warm and would have been perfect for a midnight hike on the sands, alas I was only able to watch the moon rise and listen to the surging river from the porch of my yurt.
My first report shows the Assiniboine’s damaging effect on the park road which leads off Hwy #5 to the lower and upper campgrounds and yurt area. The road is washed out as you can see in this short video report.
The second report shows Hwy #5, closed and barricaded, and the some of the damage it sustained. This is a long shot looking from the south taken on a hot prairie morning. You can see the heat waves rising from the asphalt.
The third report shows in detail the extensive damage and washouts along Hwy #5 near Marsh Lake in Spruce Woods Park.