Water levels put park opening in jeopardy

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV
Water levels put park opening in jeopardy
Sheldon Lamber, Park Superintendent:
“This is Mallorytown landing. This would normally be a small little beach area.”

What was once a beach at the Visitors Centre at Thousand Islands National Park–now looks more like a swamp.¬†One of the many examples of how the rising St. Lawrence River has taken over.

Sheldon Lamber, Park Superintendent
“The water level that we’re seeing is unprecedented and some of the challenges with it is that it makes it harder for us to physically inspect docks and what may be going on with the docks, especially those that are under water right now.”

Officials with the park– a collection of scenic islands and mainland trails stretching from Kingston to Brockville– have been working around the clock to inspect the trails and secure a series of permanent docks.
The Park’s private boat dock has been submerged and the public boat launch closed.
The view from the river looks even more daunting. This camping location, known as Adelaide Island, has almost disappeared beneath the waves.

Sheldon Lamber, Park Superintendent
“What we’re seeing now is obviously outside of the ordinary for what our staff has ever seen.”

Huge cement blocks have been placed on the now-submerged docks to keep them from being washed away.

Sheldon Lamber, Park Superintendent
“That’s been our biggest source of concern I think, is just to ensure that those docks remain in place and that they’re safe to the public.”

Between flooded shorelines, engulfed docks and extra debris in the water… public safety is top of mind.¬†According to the Conservation Authority, river levels have not yet peaked.

Krista Fazackerley, Conservation Authority
“It takes a long time for water to flow through the system so that’s where you’re seeing those gradual increases to the peak and then soon they’ll start to fall.”

This season is supposed to be a busy one, as Parks Canada gives away free passes to celebrate the 150th but the season opening of this park is in question.

Jonna Semple:
“May 19th is when the Park is supposed to become fully accessible to the public, but now that will all depend on what the water levels do. Officials say they’ll be taking a wait and see approach to see if the water does recede enough to allow for a May 19th opening.
Jonna Semple, CKWS News, Thousand Islands National Park.

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