A Manitoba Mayor says that while locals have been stepping up to protect their community, they need visitors to do their part.

After gaining social media fame, Pinawa, a small town 114 km north-east of Winnipeg, has seen a massive increase in tourists.

"Pinawa has always been a really beautiful community to come and visit, and certainly something that the residents of Pinawa treasure," Mayor Brian Skinner says.

Pinawa, which has approximately 1,500 residents, is seeing up to 2,000 people on a hot summer day visit them. While the Pinawa Channel is a relaxing spot to visit,  the increase is creating stress for locals.

"Tourists come out to enjoy the channel float, something that the people of Pinawa and area have enjoyed for 50 years, but now it is definitely no longer a secret."

While locals are excited to see people enjoy their town, they are less excited to see the issues the increase of people is bringing.

Trash and traffic are overtaking the town, leaving the local government to find solutions.

"We have had reports of people throwing garbage over the fence, into our cemetery."

Skinner adds that the town's beauty is preserved by its environmentally-conscious community, but that they are struggling to keep up with the trash being left by visitors.

"We definitely do not want them throwing garbage into the Pinawa channel because someday we will have to clean that up," he says. "We have had reports of people throwing garbage over the fence, into our cemetery. These kinds of practices are not appreciated."

Skinner is asking visitors to "take care" of their garbage when they visit and dispose of it in trash bins.

Along with the trash, Skinner says more importantly tourists need to slow down. While the speed limit on the highway is 100 km/hour and in town 70 km/hour, Skinner says driving at those speeds is not safe as many pedestrians are now walking along the roads. 

"We have requested lower speed limits for the highway, and so far after a year Manitoba Highways has not made the change. We are really afraid people coming in at high speeds are going to be involved in an accident." 
Ideally, he says drivers would slow down to 70 km/hour on the highway and 50 km/hour in the town.

The District of Pinawa also recently started charging for parking to pay for security after safety concerns over car volumes arose. By adding a supervisor, the town is able to assure an ambulance can get through the mass of cars.
"It became evident in mid-July that the amount of traffic in that small area had become out of control."

He adds that now that traffic is being managed, ambulances can get by.
As the popular tubing destination in Pinawa is federally-owned, the town cannot charge entrance fees, creating a budgeting issue as tourism increases. 

"You have increased volumes of garbage to deal with, we have had to install washroom facilities, and we have done all of this basically on rate-payers money because we are not allowed to charge feels to go on the channel float."

The town of 1,500 has had to cut back its maintenance budget to build more washroom facilities and hire two new trash collectors.

Alice Chambers Trail into the suspension bridge where the Channel Float exit isThe Alice Chambers Trail, which leads into the suspension bridge where
the Channel Float exit is, is often full of vehicles. (Pinawa Resident Administrator Gisele Smith/Supplied)

While the increase is creating issues such as vehicles parking in unrecommended places, the town's businesses are seeing an increase in revenue.

"Pinawa is such a beautiful place to come and visit. I think it would be inappropriate for us to assume that (the tourism) numbers are going to decline.

We have to prepare for I think that similar crowds, or perhaps even more, and do all we can to manage those volumes."

Skinner believes that tourism will not slow down and is preparing for another busy season in 2021.