New swim access dock being discussed for Bracebridge’s Kelvin Grove Park

A new floating dock for swimming access could be built at Kelvin Grove Park in Bracebridge Bay to the tune of $40,000.

Bracebridge’s General Committee will look at preferred Option #2 this week – it’s for a floating t-dock that would extend into the Muskoka River and be connected to the Kelvin Grove Park Wharf by a ramp. (See diagram)

A report issued to councillors states that river currents in that area can be strong after heavy summer rain storm events and that weaker swimmers may face difficulties swimming back to the dock.

According to the report, swim buoys would need to be installed around the swimming area so that swimmers, if caught in current, would have a safety line to stop them from floating 75 metres to the Muskoka Rowing Club

Dock to exit the water. Option #2 was identified in a Staff Report to be selected as the preferred alternative for swimming access at the location.

*’Keep Out’ buoys are also recommended as part of the plan for Option #2 to indicate to boaters that the area is closed to navigation.

Update: Ministry of Natural Resources downgrades Flood Warning April 19

(UPDATE April 19: While water levels remain high, especially on Lake Joseph, Lake Rosseau and Moon River/Bala Reach, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry today downgraded its Flood Warning to a Water Safety Statement. Photos below show how much the water level has dropped on the south branch of the Muskoka River in Bracebridge since April 2nd.


(April 13) In an update today, April 13, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNR) states a Flood Warning remains in effect for flood prone locations within the Muskoka Watershed, including Lake of Bays, the south branch of the Muskoka River, Lakes Rosseau, Joseph and Muskoka, and the Moon River/Bala Reach.

The current weather forecast suggests snow could melt a little more quickly, increasing flows and water levels in affected waterbodies through the weekend. To read the entire Flood Warning update from today, click on this link: ParrySoundMuskoka_FloodWarning_April13’16

Muskoka Flood update from Ministry of Natural Resources for April 8

Water levels and flows in local lakes and rivers are likely to continue to keep rising slowly, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNR).

Here are highlights from the MNR’s update issued today:

The Ministry is advising residents within flood-prone areas including Lake of Bays, the south branch of the Muskoka River, Lake Rosseau and Joseph, Lake Muskoka and Moon River/Bala Reach that a Flood Warning remains in effect.

A Flood Warning means flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.

Water levels now

Lake levels have increased significantly and it’s believed water levels in Lake of Bays, Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph and Lake Muskoka are peaking and should slowly trend downward over the next two weeks.

Port Sandfield

It’s expected, however, that flood conditions may extend through the next few weeks: residents affected by flooding in the past should take necessary action to secure vulnerable property close to rivers and lakes and closely monitory developing conditions. Residents who have evacuated their homes in past years due to flooding may wish to make similar preparations at this time as rising water levels will limit the ability to evacuate as driveways and roads in lower-lying locations become impassable.

And with cooler temperatures, banks and shorelines next to water bodies are extremely slippery and unstable.

Snow Sunday through Tuesday expected

The current forecast from Environment Canada and The Weather Network are calling for more snow Sunday through Tuesday. The MNR notes the local snow pack east of Huntsville still contains over 50mm of water content. The current weather forecast suggests a slow melt, but if the forecast changes,

Muskoka flood
High water at Allport Marina, Lake Muskoka

the remaining snow pack could melt quickly, resulting in continued high water and/or flood conditions in many areas of the watershed.

Featured photo at top shows docks at Port Sandfield.


Flood Update: North Muskoka River holding steady, south Muskoka River and into Lake Muskoka rising slowly; boat capsize on Moon River

Just because water is open doesn’t mean you should be on it; boat flipped on Moon River today; one man died last weekend on Black River and update on present water level conditions as of April 25

Updated with OPP report on Moon River Boat rescue, April 28:

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Bracebridge detachment members were called to the Moon River in Bala and rescued stranded boaters who had their boat overflow with water due to the strong current.

On April 25, 2014 at approximately 2pm two males set out on the Moon River with their 12 foot aluminum boat to explore the water. The males travelled near fast moving water and were unable to handle the strong current. The boat began to take on water and the boat capsized, leaving the two males to swim to shore with the assistance of life jackets they were wearing at the time.

The OPP Bracebridge Marine Unit members were called to attend the river as the males were stranded in an isolated location on shore West of Kimberly Island. The OPP Marine Unit located the two males and transported them back to their residence. Luckily, the males suffered no injuries and their boat was also recovered.

The spring can be a dangerous time of year. With the high water levels in the area, the fast moving current, and the cold water temperatures the OPP is reminding the public to use caution when near water ways.

Original article follows:

April 25, 6pm: The OPP report two youths flipped a boat on Moon River and were rescued by two officers from the Bracebridge detachment. There are no further details but unconfirmed reports about an hour ago said the mishap occurred on Moon River at the area known as the Chutes and that the craft involved was a 12′ aluminum boat.

Still, it serves as a wake up call. PC David Hobson of the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment says people should know about the one-ten-one rule. He says that if you fall into the water in the fall (autumn when the water could be much warmer than it is now), you have only ONE minute to get your breath. Then you have TEN minutes to get out of the water or get your arms wrapped around something to which you can stay permanently attached. If you’re lucky, you have ONE hour in which to be rescued otherwise chances are good you will die from a heart attack from the cold. Think about it, he says, and he suggests everyone visit the Cold Water Boot Camp web site to learn more. You can visit that site by clicking here.

Easter tragedy on Black River

Municipal officials are warning people to stay clear of open waters, creeks and rivers due to rising water levels and fast flowing waters. 65-year-old Phil McDonald of the Washago area died last Sunday after the canoe he and his wife were in capsized on Black River. Water levels are now down on the Black River but fast moving water, debris and extreme cold water make for a dangerous mix on all our waterways. McDonald’s wife Gail was taken to hospital in Toronto and treated for hypothermia.

Latest word on Muskoka flood conditions

Meantime, the Emergency Control Group at the Town of Bracebridge met again today and is advising water levels on the North Branch of the Muskoka River are holding steady. The South Branch, Lake Muskoka and the Muskoka River (between Wellington Street Bridge and Lake Muskoka) are rising slowly. Some residents, however, say the water seemed down a bit yesterday. Moderate rainfall and cooler temperatures have likely helped keep levels from rising faster. Below are some photos from Beaumont Drive looking across to Annie Williams Park. Here, water levels seemed to peak on April 22 and are only slightly higher as of 7pm this evening (April 25).

Muskoka River, flooding
April 24 – no additional rise since April 22 on Muskoka River near Annie Williams Park yesterday, but water reported slightly higher tonight at 6pm (April 25)

Sand bags continue to be available free of charge for Bracebridge residents and property owners from Fowler Construction at 1206 Rosewarne Drive. Fowlers will also be open on Saturday, April 26 from 8 a.m. to 5p.m. to help any residents who wish to obtain sand bags to protect their property.

When will the ice be out? Muskoka News Watch was predicting not until May but on a fly over the lakes yesterday, Muskoka Lakes Councillor Ron Brent reported large sections of open water. The melt continues and people in flood prone areas should, as always, be prepared. And boaters should think carefully about whether heading for open water is really the best idea this weekend.