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Northern provincial parks expected to open on time, some southern parks see delays

Several provincial parks and campgrounds in Manitoba have had to delay the start of the season and cancel bookings, but parks in the north - for now - will open right on time next week.
A jetskier flies underneath the highway bridge at Bakers Narrows Provincial Park on Lake Athapapuskow.

Several provincial parks and campgrounds in Manitoba have had to delay the start of the season and cancel bookings, but parks in the north - for now - will open right on time next week.

Manitoba Environment, Climate and Parks announced May 10 that several provincial parks would be delayed in opening, with most slated to open this week before the postponement. Most of the affected parks are located in southern Manitoba, where parts of the province have seen widespread overland flooding.

As of May 11, all provincial parks in northern Manitoba are slated to open May 20 as planned. That includes the four parks in the province's northwest region - Bakers Narrows, Clearwater Lake, Grass River and Wekusko Falls - and the parks in Manitoba's northeast region - Burge Lake, Caribou River, Numaykoos Lake, Paint Lake, Pisew Falls, Sand Lakes and Zed Lake.

That also covers campgrounds located in the north, including Bakers Narrows, Campers' Cove and Pioneer Bay at Clearwater, Wekusko Falls and Paint Lake - though some parks could see delays later due to a longer-than-normal snow melt.

"Campgrounds slated for a May long weekend opening, especially those in higher elevations such as the Duck Mountains, Porcupine Hills and those in northern Manitoba, are still reporting a substantial amount of snow and may also experience further delays," reads a provincial statement.

More information is expected to be announced by the province next week.

The province announced that travel in Nopiming Provincial Park, canoe routes in Nopiming and Manigotagan River Provincial Park and trails in Whiteshell Provincial Park would be closed, with delays to the start of the season at Bird Lake, Beresford Lake, Black Lake, Shoe Lake and Tulabi Falls until at least June 2. Overland flooding is to blame for the postponement.

Lake St. George Provincial Park will be closed "until further notice" as most of the roads heading into the park are flooded over.

Other parks are also affected by high water and saturated ground, with most not set to reopen until at least May 20.

St. Malo Provincial Park won't open until at least May 20 due to wet conditions and issues with the parks' water lines and bathrooms, while Adam Lake, Max Lake and William Lake campgrounds won't open until May 20 because of the ground being saturated. Brereton Lake in the Whiteshell will have some seasonal sites closed due to flooding, while Caddy Lake and Falcon-Toniata will be closed until May 20 due to wet conditions.

Sites around Falcon Beach, including Falcon Lakeshore and West Hawk Lake, will see site closures until May 20, as will Rivers Provincial Park and Stephenfield Provincial Park - White Lake Campground in the Whiteshell will also be closed, but until at least June 2.

Other campgrounds and parks will stay open, but campers in some areas may need to pack their own water due to lines not being fully operational yet.

"Services such as drinking water and washrooms may also be limited or reduced in some areas as a result of late spring conditions which are delaying the seasonal setup and operation of water lines. Campers are advised to plan accordingly for potential service reductions and pack adequate drinking water," reads the May 10 statement from the province.

"Reservation holders and seasonal campers will be contacted and their fees refunded if their campsite is affected by a closure. Campers should not pre-emptively cancel reservations before being notified of a site closure, otherwise cancellation policies will apply."