Pray for the Whiteshell

The forest fire on the Manitoba-Ontario border continues to burn out of control.

Since Thursday, the wildfire has expanded from 200 hectares to about 2,800 hectares on Monday. On Tuesday, reports said the fire grew to to approximately 5,200 hectares.

Approximately 100 homes were evacuated from Ingolf, Ontario Thursday night. Remote cabins on north shore West Hawk Lake were also evacuated over the weekend.

Strong winds over the weekend caused the wildfire to worsen, and forced the evacuation of about 50 cottages and homes on the east shore of Caddy Lake Monday morning.

Water bombers continue to scoop up water and pour it on the fire, which is a threat to Caddy Lake, Nora Lake, Florence Lake, and MacDougalls landing on West Hawk Lake.

The fire is dangerously close to other lakes in Ontario, including Longpine Lake, Ingolf, Rice Lake, and Macara Lake.

So far, there have been no reports of damage to any properties.

For an interactive map of the fire, please head to the Government of Canada’s Natural Resources website.

Here is a collection of photos of the wildfire, taken in the south Whiteshell over the weekend.

Stay safe, Whiteshellers. For updated information please visit winnipeg.ctvnews.ca or the Province of Manitoba’s website.

 

Photos courtesy of: Province of Manitoba, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Shaun Harbottle, Troy Morrison, Barb Schlauderaff-St. Goddard, Cameron Kovachik, Barb Zimmerman, Ian Young, Marney Blunt.

 

 

 

A walk down the Whiteshell Memory Lane…

Little walk down Memory Lane, anyone?

Many of the original cottages in the Falcon and West Hawk Lake area were built in the 1940s, and are still owned by the members of the original family today.

Here’s a series of photos that may give some of those families a flashback to the good ol’ days at West Hawk Lake, Falcon Lake, Caddy Lake, and Star Lake. If you’re new to the Whiteshell or just enjoy day tripping, check out how things have changed throughout the years!

One thing has stayed the same, though: The Whiteshell Provincial Park is arguably still the most beautiful place in Manitoba.

Please feel to share your Whiteshell memories in the comments section! Have some vintage shots of your own from the Whiteshell? Send them to us at whiteshell.lakes@gmail.com.

Photos compiled by Brian Talling.
Source: History & Folklore of the Whiteshell Park South.

Whiteshell Provincial Park. Experience the Whiteshell.

Whiteshell Provincial Park. Experience the Whiteshell.

CaddyLakeTunnel

Caddy Lake rock tunnels.

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Trans-Canada Restaurant, previously the West Hawk Inn Bar & Grill.

CBC

Crescent Beach Cottages. West Hawk Lake.

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Whiteshell Provincial Park. Experience the Whiteshell.

Whiteshell Provincial Park. Experience the Whiteshell.

Star Lake

Star Lake.

TransCanadaRestuarant

Trans-Canada Restaurant (West Hawk Inn). West Hawk Lake.

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Main Beach. West Hawk Lake.

Main Beach. West Hawk Lake.

Trans-Canada Restaurant/West Hawk Inn

Trans-Canada Restaurant/West Hawk Inn

West Hawk Lake road.

West Hawk Lake road.

Whiteshell River Bridge.

Whiteshell River Bridge.

Trail Fest 2015

The South Whiteshell Trail Association (SWTA) is excited to announce their annual music festival will be bigger and better than ever!

SWTAThe 2015 Trail Fest will be on Sunday, September 6th! Come on down to the Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes for an afternoon hike or bike followed by live music, live art, kid’s activities, BBQ, and beer gardens. There will be a modest cover charge of $10/adult, $5/child, or pay as you can. The festivities will begin at 3:00 p.m. with a group bike or hike on trails of various lengths, all starting at the ski chalet parking lot and returning to the ski chalet. At 4:00 the outdoor beer gardens will open, kid’s activities will kick off, and Chrissy Sie-Merritt of South Moon Studios will begin a live art demonstration inside the chalet. Watch an artist in action, create wonder on canvas. (www.southmoonarts.com for a preview) At 5:00 p.m. multiple BBQ’s will heat up and there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie options available for purchase. There will also be homemade salads and desserts prepared by local residents. At 6:00 p.m. local musicians will take the stage. Some of the acts that have offered to entertain us so far are Dave Barchyn, Doug Edmond, Bill Hamilton, and more. If it is a little drier weather than last year, we hope to have an outdoor bonfire in the evening. Forget about closing up the cabin for the summer on the September long weekend and come celebrate with SWTA instead! Arrive at your convenient time. All proceeds from this event will go towards trail development and maintenance.

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Fin + Bone 4: Four ways to Experience the Whiteshell this May long weekend

Written by Marney Blunt, Experience the Whiteshell editor, for Fin + Bone 4:

Finally it is here! The May long weekend. The start of another season of summer time lake living in the beautiful cottage country of the Whiteshell Provincial Park. Whether you’ve been coming out to the lake all winter or you’re just opening up the cabin for another season, here are some things you can do to kick off the season. I recently wrote my top four picks of things to do on the May long weekend for Fin +Bone magazine. Have a look here and have a great May long weekend:

Glassy calm waters, echoing loon calls, eagles soaring overhead, towering pine trees, the eerie howls of wolves in the distance: These are just a few of the enchanting sights and sounds that many lucky people have experienced in the Whiteshell Provincial Park over the summer season.

Glad to say I’m one of those lucky people. Growing up with a cottage in the beautiful Canadian Shield terrain of the south Whiteshell has given me plenty of opportunities to venture throughout this gorgeous part of our province.

The older I’ve gotten, the more time I’ve spent in the Whiteshell during the ‘off season’. Truthfully, I love the Whiteshell in all four seasons, 365 days of the year. I honestly couldn’t think of a time I haven’t been excited to head down Highway 44 towards the lake. But growing up, the May long weekend was always an extra special time. While I was in school, the May long weekend was always the official start of another summer season of lake living. It meant school was almost done, and it was a taste of a few of the fun and exciting adventures I would get to do all summer long.

So to give you a taste of a few great things to do during the spring and summer season in this magical land known as the Whiteshell, here’s four ways you can experience the Whiteshell this May long weekend:

McGillivray Falls.

McGillivray Falls.

Hike the Whiteshell

One of my favourite things to do in the Whiteshell during the spring is hike the McGillivray Falls trail. McGillivray Falls is a self-guided, glacier-formed trail that is potentially one of the best trails to hike during the spring season as the rapids are rushing down from McGillivray Lake into Caddy Lake. The trail is located off Highway 44 near the Caddy Lake turnoff. The trail also features a shorter 2.8 km loop or a longer 4.8 km loop.

Mild temperatures and no bugs make the May long weekend one of the best times to hit up the hiking trails of the Whiteshell, and there are several other trails you might want to check out this weekend. Another great hike is the Hunt Lake trail, which is a 12.6 km trail that edges along the outskirts of Hunt Lake and the east side of West Hawk Lake, heading north towards Indian Bay. My favourite time to do this trail is at sunset, you can get a stunning view of the sunset over West Hawk Lake from the top of a tall cliff on the east shore. Another great one to do is the South Whiteshell trail, part of the Trans Canada Trail. Last August, a new portion of this trail opened up leading from the causeway (near the Falcon Lake Marina on the south shore of Falcon Lake) through the woods behind Falcon Lake and into the secluded and picturesque High Lake.

Hunt Lake.

Hunt Lake.

Cast a line in the Whiteshell

I’ve always loved fishing at the lake, as I little girl I mastered the art of catching tiny smallmouth bass in our boathouse at Star Lake. That was really all I knew, and it was all I needed to know to have fun. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was shown the ropes of fishing that I became, excuse the cheesy pun, completely hooked on it.

Although I still have a lot to learn, I can say one thing for sure: The May long weekend and walleye fishing just go hand-in-hand. Nothing says the start of opening fishing season like jigging for that huge master walleye or just heading out on the water to catch dinner. With a healthy population of beautiful fish, Falcon Lake is a walleye angler’s paradise. Last year, a lot of walleye were in the 23-27” range… So maybe in coming years the lake will be filled with masters, just saying. walleyeCheck out the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery

The Whiteshell Fish Hatchery is an amazing combination of history and fishery conservation. I had the awesome opportunity to tag along with some of the hatchery staff last year while they collected eggs and tagged walleye on Falcon Lake. The walleye eggs are then taken back to the hatchery where they will remain in incubator containers for about 21 days before reaching the eyed-egg stage, which last about six to ten days for walleye. The eggs then hatch into tiny fish referred to as ‘fry’, at this stage the walleye are stocked into the lakes. The survival rate for young fish at the hatchery can be 80 per cent, whereas in the wild the survival rate is one per cent.

The hatchery raises both cool water fish (walleye, northern pike, and lake sturgeon) and cold water fish (rainbow trout, brook trout, brown lake trout, arctic char, and trout hybrids including splake and tiger trout). The hatchery has big outdoor tanks where you can see a brood stock that includes brook trout, brown trout, tiger trout, and even lake sturgeon. But why am I telling you all this, get down there and check it out for yourself! One of the friendly staff at the hatchery would be more than happy to give you a tour. hatchery2 sturgPaddle the Whiteshell

I once had the opportunity to see the Whiteshell via floatplane, and it was mind-boggling how many lakes there are so close together. The Whiteshell is an endless chain of lakes just waiting to be explored. There are so many opportunities for different canoe and kayak routes, with easy portages between them. A classic and one of the most well known canoe routes is probably the Caddy Lake rock tunnels. You can rent a boat or canoe from Green Bay Resort or Caddy Lake Resort and head out through Caddy Lake and into South Cross Lake, and then through South Cross through the second tunnel into North Cross Lake. Several camping spots are located along the way and there is prime fishing in all three lakes. There are also several other lakes that are within portaging distance of this canoe route. canoe

Bait your hook, drop your line, and jig em’ up…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

A time of the year so many Manitoban anglers anticipate… The opening day of the 2015/2016 fishing season. This Saturday, May 9 marks the first day of open water fishing in the Whiteshell. Whether it’s walleye, black crappie, smallmouth bass, northern pike, or lake trout that you fancy, be sure head out to the Whiteshell Provincial Park this weekend to catch those first fish of the season in one of the beautiful lakes in the park.

IMG_3029IMG_3154For the more competitive anglers, be sure to come out and fine tune your jigging skills for the 2015 Walleye Masters Cup on Falcon Lake, scheduled for Saturday, June 6 this year. The tournament is in support of the Central Walleye Trail, Fish Futures, and the Never Alone Foundation. Continue reading

2015 Whiteshell Winter Wonderland Bucket List

IMG_0535 copyWinter is officially here… And we Manitobans can make it through this. Although the past few weeks have been surprisingly mild, you may be waiting for the times where you’ll be scraping your car windows, getting stuck in the deep, heavy snow, or freezing at the bus stop. However, as stated once before on this blog, winter rules in the Whiteshell, and we’re not just saying that. Some even say winter is their favourite season at the lake. Winter is what you make it, and the Whiteshell has endless opportunities for fun winter activities in the most beautiful and scenic place in Manitoba. So instead of staying cooped up inside counting down the days until the snow melts, bundle up and venture out to the winter wilderness wonderland of the Whiteshell, where winter truly rules. To kick off a season of winter fun, here is our 2015 Whiteshell Winter Wonderland Bucket List: Continue reading

Camouflaged in the Woods

They are very hard to see this time of year but they are all over the Whiteshell: Thumping their wings together like a drum beat in the woods, slowing strutting out on the path in front of you with their neck puffed out, putting their head down and scurrying across the path in front of you, or waiting till you’re right beside them to jump up and fly to the next tree.

They are known as the ruffed grouse, a commonly sighted bird in the Whiteshell. Here are a few photos of these birds taken at McGillivray Falls near Caddy Lake:

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IMG_3002 IMG_3004 IMG_3005Photos by Marney Blunt, Experience the Whiteshell editor.

New Routes, New Challenges in the 2014 Swamp Donkey Adventure Race

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By Warren Blunt

Of my three years participating in the Swamp Donkey Adventure Race (SDAR), this year’s race was perhaps the most adventurous, challenging, and probably the longest course that I have been a part of. It was also the most fun because the course was mapped out so differently than in previous years, which had me really excited to get out on it. Some of the new territory for SDAR included Star Lake, Caddy Lake, South Cross Lake, McGillivray Falls, as well as a remote finish.
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Hike It or Bike it – The South Whiteshell Trail

The South Whiteshell Trail.

The South Whiteshell Trail.

The South Whiteshell Trail is a gorgeous hiking trail that winds through the beautiful forest terrain of the Whiteshell from Rennie to the Ontario border. The trail is divided into several different portions that stretch across the South Whiteshell; so whether you’re feeling ambitious and want to bike across the south Whiteshell or just want to take a casual stroll near your campsite, this trail is a perfect way to explore the gorgeous landscape and nature of the Canadian Shield.  On August 31, the South Whiteshell Trail Association will be hosting a grand opening of the newest section of the trail that spans from the southwest corner of Falcon Lake to the Ontario border.

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