Several Popular Manitoba Parks Under Water

May 23, 2011 by   - () Comments Off on Several Popular Manitoba Parks Under Water

Click here to watch a video courtesy of the Winnipeg Sun.

Camping at several Manitoba sites is a washout for the immediate future.

Severe flooding along the Assiniboine River and high water on Lake Manitoba have shut down campgrounds at several provincial parks and privately run facilities, leaving some of their operators uncertain when — or whether at all — they will open this summer, the Winnipeg Sun reported.

“We’re facing a disaster situation,” Has Koria, owner of the West Winnipeg KOA campground, said at his park on the Trans-Canada Highway in St. Francois Xavier, just west of Winnipeg.

“We have anywhere between three feet and seven feet of water on all of our property. Virtually everything is under water.”

Koria’s campground along the Assiniboine resembles a deep lake, where a utility building — containing a tractor — is submerged nearly to its roof and picnic tables are tied down after several of them had floated away. More than a month after his regular opening day, he’s lost an estimated $25,000 in revenue this season and isn’t expecting the water to be gone until late June — leaving his opening slated for July.

Adding to the dilemma, he said, is an approximately $250,000 investment he has sunk in the past five years to improve the 95-site campground’s electrical outlets and water and sewer lines. He’s hoping some form of provincial disaster assistance will allow him to recover at least part of that cost.

Four publicly operated campgrounds are in much the same boat. All campsites at the Lundar, Watchorn and St. Ambroise provincial parks along Lake Manitoba were shut down this past weekend due to dangerously high water, while the Kichi Manitou campground at Spruce Woods Provincial Park is submerged along the Assiniboine.

“We’ve never, to my knowledge, had to close parks like this due to high water,” said Elisabeth Ostrop, the province’s manager of recreation and education services.

At the parks on Lake Manitoba’s shore, she said, “we’re concerned about the rising levels … and with any sudden windstorm, it could flood quite suddenly — or road access could flood out.”

At Spruce Woods and Beaudry Provincial Park, some trails are inaccessible. And detours have been created at Duck Mountain Provincial Park following at least one washed-out road.

At Creekside Camping and RV Park along the Assiniboine just east of Portage la Prairie, owner Don Braaksma said he’s “been on edge for about two weeks,” though a dike is allowing full use of his 144 campsites.

“This is the highest it’s ever been,” Braaksma said of the river.

“The dike protects us. We just put a few sandbags around some of our electrical places and a couple of our sewage drains, and that’s it. We’ve been very fortunate.”


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