Rejoice outdoor enthusiasts, the fire ban and travel restrictions in eastern Manitoba have been lifted!
Manitoba Conservation has ended the fire ban and travel restrictions in the Whiteshell region and the Grand Beach and Birds Hill provincial parks, just in time for campers to enjoy the September long weekend.
Campfires are now permitted in approved fire pits and backcountry travel is permitted again thanks to the humid evenings, accumulated rainfall and forecasts calling for more rain.
The end of the ban is cause for celebration for Whiteshell resort owners. Within minutes of learning the ban had been lifted, Caddy Lake Resort owner Wayne Mooney was on the phone, getting the word out to Manitobans that the Whiteshell wilderness was once again open for business.
Caddy Lake Resort offers a prime entrance spot to the famous rock tunnels on Caddy Lake, which are a favourite route of canoeists into other lakes deep inside the Whiteshell. Mooney estimates that August canoe rental traffic was down 80 per cent over a normal year — and firewood sales at the resort’s convenience store were, of course, zero.
"We were having a good summer," Mooney said, noting his resort began getting phone calls from potential visitors soon after the news went public.
"The weather was fantastic for everybody, but people stopped coming to camp because they couldn’t have bonfires and the back-country travel. We’re glad it’s over."
Some municipalities may still have bylaws prohibiting firesl, and conservation officials are still cautioning Manitobans to check with their local municipal offices for updates.
Permits to burn debris can now be obtained from Manitoba Conservation offices everywhere except for the Falcon and West Hawk lake areas which remain quite dry.
The province continues to caution users of all-terrain vehicles to conduct regular checks around the engine and exhaust and to carry a fire extinguisher.
The move reverses a provincially imposed ban on fires and all backcountry hiking, paddling and cycling over a vast swath of land that stretches from the U.S. border to Bissett that had been in place since August 3.