Monkman Park Report

Kinuseo Falls have been running high the last few weeks, as spring run-off continues. If you want to see the falls in full flood, you better get there soon, as the water level will soon begin to taper off. Kinuseo Falls are still one of the prime tourist draws to the area, and most of those visitors are day-trippers, either locals from Tumbler Ridge, people from the region, or travellers along the Alaska Highway who have parked their RVs in Dawson and driven out to visit the falls. While their points of origin vary, they share one thing in common: the drive down the Murray Forest Service Road to get to Monkman Provincial Park.

Road conditions are pretty average. The first 13 km of road should get graded soon. But be warned that there are a couple really nasty little heaves around km 5. Most people expect this section to be in good condition, and as a result approach this section too fast.

The road past km 13 hasn?t seen a grader for nearly a year, and it shows. There?s a lot more potholes, bridge approaches are very rough and there?s one rather nasty rutted section, between kilometres 23 and 24. Of course, a grader on that road is a mixed blessing. Sure, it gets rid of the potholes and evens out some of the swells, but graders are also famous for turning up big rocks. Even worse, graders have a tendency to sheer off rocks, leaving razor-sharp edges protruding out of the road. Last year, one person had three flat tires driving up to Kinuseo.

There is little chance that the road will be graded this year. BC Parks does not have a lot of money in its budget, and probably won?t be able to pay to get the road graded. The oil and gas companies maintain the road as far as they use it, which is currently to about km 13. Ultimately, the road is a logging road, and there is no logging scheduled in the area this year, meaning that the logging companies have no reason to maintain it. Canfor is talking about going in to harvest some pine beetle killed trees, but even if they do go in, it won?t be until winter, and they?ll be logging on the other side of the Murray River, up the Club Creek drainage, which leaves the Murray Forest Service road at around km 19.

While the road is rough, you don?t need a 4X4 if you?re planning on going to the falls. A good two-wheel drive vehicle and a little bit of patience will get you there, too. In fact, your opinion of the road will probably be almost exactly the opposite of how you feel about your vehicle–be it a little car or a big truck. Is your vehicle in great shape? Then you?ll probably find the road in terrible condition. Is your vehicle in rough shape? Then the road?s great. Of course, that doesn?t hold true for everyone. On the May long weekend, someone brought a brand new fifth wheel out to the park. When I commented on the fact that we don?t usually see such fancy vehicles up at the park, the driver just shrugged. ?The road isn?t that bad. Besides, we have to break it in.?