‘Brings things to a halt’: Manitoba’s Duck Mountain sees May Long standstill

East Blue Lake, Man. –

For those looking to hop the border into Manitoba for their camping seasons, it started off on the wrong foot for Duck Mountain Provincial Park.

With the May Long weekend now come and gone, many parks inside Saskatchewan had a cleanup, at Manitoba’s Duck Mountain Provincial Park, the clean-up was a bit different. Torrential rainfalls, coupled with already soggy conditions thanks to late snowstorms made many roads totally impassable for visitors to the park.

Arch Dowsett has lived in the park for the past 20 years and said he has never seen it this bad for road washouts and the loss of access in and out of the provincial park.

“Nothing up here like this and I’ve talked to other locals down low, like [farmers] and they can’t recall anything like this with so many roads going out,” he explained.

Dowsett showed CTV News three spots where the water had taken either a big bite out of a pre-existing road or washed it out totally, along with the adjourning culverts. Areas like Baldy Mountain are inaccessible to someone in a vehicle and the repairs won’t be done overnight.

Manitoba Highways said at times all access points in and out of the park were closed due to full washouts or water coming over and across roads. The lodges who spoke to CTV News said a vast majority of their visitors are from Saskatchewan, but “May Long” brought the entire local economy to a halt thanks to the rainfall.

“It’s not advised to be traveling in into the Duck Mountain Provincial Park at this time a number of the roads even though they are open are down to one lane and sections of them have been washed out and/or closed,” Tara Liske, executive director of Highway Regional Operations said.

Liske added this was an “extreme” event for the area, with many roads expected to be passable by Friday. For some of the areas in more severe shape, Liske said it could take weeks or even months before everything is repaired.

For Dowsett, he said even a week or two will do a lot of damage for the local economy.

“Pretty well brings things to a halt here at the moment,” he said. “With campgrounds being shut down and just, the season is short enough and then you start losing a couple of weeks you know here and there — who knows what’s next?”

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