Permanent residents and cottage owners who had to move out of Manitoba’s northern Whiteshell region over flooding concerns will be allowed back in Friday.
Provincial officials say the general closure and evacuation order put in place for the northern area of Whiteshell Provincial Park last month will be lifted as of 1 p.m. June 10.
Provincial Road 307 — which runs by Eleanor Lake, Otter Falls, Barrier Bay and Nutimik Lake — will reopen to local traffic at that time as well, officials said.
However, access will only be granted to permanent residents, cottage owners and commercial operators.
That means campers and day users still won’t be able to go into the area, with barricades at campgrounds and access points remaining in place, for now.
“Flood conditions continue to persist and pose a risk to public safety, and all visitors are reminded to check and carefully monitor conditions prior to heading to the Whiteshell and all other provincial parks,” the province said in a release Thursday.
The changes mean closures at Sylvia Lake, Eleanor Lake, Otter Falls, Dorothy Lake, Barrier Bay and Nutimik Lake have been lifted.
But park closures will remain in effect for the Betula Lake area due to lingering floodwaters that are making local roads impassable, the province says.
All backcountry campsites in the provincial park remain closed, along with multiple trails including the Mantario Trail.
The province says the Winnipeg and Whiteshell rivers continue to cause “significant” overland flooding. Officials say the Winnipeg River is expected to crest this week but it may take several weeks to fully recede to normal summer levels.
Meanwhile, watercraft restrictions remain in place on lakes in Whiteshell Provincial Park to help protect flooded shorelines from erosion.
Details on the next phase of the reopening plan are expected to be finalized and communicated to parks users in the coming weeks, the province said.