Campers concerned about rising East Blue Lake waters
Published Friday, August 15, 2014 5:18PM CST Last Updated Friday, August 15, 2014 6:02PM CST
Some campers call it Manitoba’s best-kept secret. But those who live and work at East Blue Lake are speaking out to save what’s left of the shore.
“We've lost a tremendous amount of beach, there used to be two volleyball courts out here,” resort owner Arch Dowsett told CTV News.
Dowsett says in the last five years, the view in the area has changed. What was once an extensive sandy beach lined with green grass and picnic tables is now covered by water. Those volleyball courts, now gone.
Long-time camper Michelle Jerg noticed the difference first-hand, while on a recent scuba dive.
"There was a rusted old sign that said 'please park vehicles here’ and we were about 20 feet down, and there was a huge pile of rocks where the old boat launch and parking lot used to be,” Jerg said.
The province says the lake is filling up with groundwater, and there’s no predicting how much water levels will rise or when it will stop.
"Ever since probably late 2000s, a lot of precipitation has come down, so there's surface increases in lakes all over Manitoba, but the real effect on the Blue Lakes is ground water,” said Perry Stonehouse, western regional director for Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship.
There’s currently no drain system in place and no plans in the works either.
"At this point, our management system is to not manage water levels in the park for recreational purposes,” Stonehouse said.
While Dowsett says rising water is impacting tourism, the province says water levels will decline, based on the natural cycle of the lake.
When that happens, the province says it will take advantage of any recovered land, and rebuild permanent infrastructure.