Just back from three days of flood recon with plenty to report about Spruce Woods Park. The picture above of the Hwy #5 bridge over the Assiniboine says it all, as of today.
However, this is a volatile situation with a surge of water coming down the Assiniboine River from Saskatchewan. No one is sure about the size or the speed of the surge but everyone is repairing. I spoke with parks people this afternoon and, to get this posted asap, I’ve bulleted the status points.
- From the south Highway #5 is closed due to water over the road near the park;
- Park access from the south is via a gravel detour off Hwy #5 that leads to the upper campgrounds and yurt area of the park, neither of which are being effected by the flood at this time. It’s the same detour used in 2011;
- Park access from the north via Hwy #5 is open today including the road to Kiche Manitou campgrounds. This access is most likely to change if the flood is severe. The situation is rapidly developing;
- The lower campground, bays 1 – 7, was evacuated on Wednesday morning as a precaution and remains closed at least until July 8;
- The day use area has been closed as a precaution and some of the interpretive centre moved to the campground office;
- The artists festival scheduled for this weekend at Spruce Woods Park has been cancelled due to uncertainty about the river;
- The horse-drawn covered wagon rides to the dunes and punch bowl are accessible, working and in business. This is a memorable family experience;
- Trails in the park are hikable including Spirit Sands/Punch Bowl, Hogs Back though Isputinaw, Epinette and Spring Ridge may have impassable low wet spots;
- Marsh Lake remains at its normal level but there is water running into it from the river now. Its trail has many low-lying areas that will become very wet;
- The Assiniboine River was measured this afternoon at the bridge in Spruce Woods and had risen somewhat in the last 24 hours;
- If you go for a hike in the park watch for two glorious wildflowers in bloom right now. The wild rose, its pink cheeks beaming shyly from the greenery, are blooming as are the tiger-faced field lilies. Poison ivy abounds, especially around stairs and in shady spots along trails. Wear sensible shoes;
- Everything that bites and flies is there. Protect yourself and do a full-body tick check on yourself and everyone with you after every hike.
Depending on the surge I plan to travel out to Spruce Woods next week for more recon.
I have uploaded to my YouTube channel a video report about the flooding at Spruce Woods. I’ve added a video about flooding in other Manitoba areas and a third video on the state of some of the rivers feeding the Assiniboine.
Any questions email me at email@example.com
Stay tuned. Stay dry.