Underwater runway, Rowena’s airstrip, Harrison Mills, BC

Record snow-pack at the headwaters of the Fraser River, combined with above-normal temperatures for May 2018 in British Columbia, has led to a sudden rise in water levels all along the mighty Fraser.  One of our favorite little airstrips has been hard-hit by the resultant flooding: the gravel runway at Rowena’s (Sandpiper Golf Course).

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Aerial view of Rowena’s/Sandpiper airstrip (pre-flood)

We’d planned to impress visitors with a dinner flight to the scenic riverside restaurant at Rowena’s.  But as we flew east up the Fraser from Pitt Meadows, above mile after mile of flooded farmland in the Sumas/Chilliwack region, we realized that a backup plan may be in order.

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Flooded farmland, Chilliwack

 Sure enough, as soon as we turned north up the Harrison River, our backup plan proved essential.  It took a moment to even recognize Rowena’s because flooding so drastically altered the once-familiar terrain.

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Mid-downwind 20, flooded
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Actual length of runway

The boat dock on the southeast end of the golf course was a floating island, several meters away from land.  And the runway? An airstrip for a pastoral Lost City of Atlantis. rowena2a

Here’s a couple of photos that show the stark contrast between our usual final approach for runway 20 and “submerged runway” flyover of the same final approach:

Our thoughts go out to all the farmers and businesses affected by the flooding and evacuations.

Here’s a great little video which shows the dramatic snow-melt that’s occurred in just a two week period in our province: Meteorologist Tyler Hamilton’s video.