12.5.17 BSAR AERIAL RIVER SURVEY REPORT:

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12.5.17 BSAR AERIAL RIVER SURVEY

12.3.17 BSAR River Report

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12.3.17 BSAR RIVER REPORT

Upriver Route 2 Report: Kalskag to Aniak

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The ice road between Kalskag and Aniak has been established. It has been marked, plowed, and all known open holes marked.

To read the full report click here: 1-15-17 TTSP RIVER REPORT #5

RULES OF THE ROAD FOR SAFE BOATING ON INLAND WATERS (RIVERS & LAKES) OF THE U.S.

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With increasing boat traffic on the Kuskokwim River and some reports of near collision in narrow channels such as Church Slough. We thought it would be good to review some of the rules for safe boating. The following is based on U.S. Coast Guard Regulations and the respectful way People have been traveling on the Kuskokwim for gnerations.

BOATING WORDS:

  • VESSEL – just about anything that floats and was made for carrying people
  • PORT – left side of boat when you’re sitting in it – symbolized by a RED light at night
  • STARBOARD – right side when you’re sitting in it – symbolized by a GREEN light at night
  • STERN – back of the boat – often represented by a WHITE light – this could also mean a boat that is anchored and not moving
  • BOW – the front of the boat
  • BEAM – the width of a boat at its widest
  • GIVE WAY VESSEL – the boat that must change its course and or speed
  • STAND ON VESSEL – the boat that should stay on its course and speed
  • OVERTAKING – catching up to and passing another boat that is traveling in the same direction as your boat
  • CROSSING – when one boat is crossing in front of another boat
  • MEETING – when two boats traveling in opposite directions meet – like in Church Slough
  • RIGHT OF WAY – the boat that should keep going the way it is while another boat should change its course or slow down

 

  • GENERAL RULES FOR BOATING SAFETY ON RIVERS & LAKES:

RIGHT OF WAY:

Generally the boat with the least amount of control has the right-of-way. There is a recognized order for this:

  • A boat being overtaken – many times they don’t know you are coming up behind them
  • A boat drifting without power – like a broken down boat or a boat with nobody in it
  • A boat that has a harder time steering – like a boat pushing a log raft, towing another boat or a canoe/kayak
  • A boat that needs deeper water than your boat – like a large boat or barge
  • A boat that is fishing – like a boat drifting with a net or even checking a set net
  • A sailing boat – not many on the Kuskokwim but every once in a while we see one

OVERTAKING:

Any boat overtaking any other boat must keep out the way of the boat being overtaken. The faster boat catching up to the slower boat is the give-way vessel and the slower one is the stand-on vessel. Whenever possible the faster boat should pass on the port side of the slower boat.

CROSSING:

Both International and Inland Rules state that when two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her starboard side (the give-way vessel) must keep out of the way.

As the give-way vessel it is your duty to avoid a collision. Typically, this means you must slow down or change direction to cross behind the other vessel (the stand-on vessel).

MEETING:

Each vessel in a meeting situation must change direction to starboard so that each will pass on the port side of the other. This is called “passing port to port”.

At night, you will recognize a head-on meeting situation if you see both red and green side lights at the same time. If possible you should turn to your right to show your port side (red light).

OPERATING IN A NARROW CHANNEL (like Church Slough):

First and foremost, you have to avoid larger vessels that can only travel in a channel. Even if your vessel is operating under the rules otherwise, you must give way to a boat that could potentially run aground or get into a collision if they left the channel.

Try and operate on the right edge of the channel. Be extra cautious if you come to a bend in the waterway, and can’t see traffic coming towards you. 

Make sure to wear a life jacket and please don’t let anyone travel that has been drinking.

BSAR wishes everyone along the Yukon and Kuskokwim a safe fall traveling and hunting season.

Thank you.

 

 

1-24-15 BSAR UPRIVER ICE ROAD REPORT*:

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Ice Road Markers in the Blowing Snow Near Nulluq Hill above Kalskag

Ice Road Markers in the Blowing Snow Near Nulluq Hill above Kalskag

Summary: Over the past several days the tribal and city governments of Napaimute, Chuathbaluk, Aniak, Kalskag, and Lower Kalskag have pooled their resources and coordinated efforts to establish a safe ice road between the Middle and Lower Kuskokwim. The following is a general description of what travelers can expect along the different sections of the Upriver Ice Road.

Upriver Route 1 Tuluksak to Lower Kalskag:

Lower Kalskag, Napaimute, & Crow Village Crew at Mile Post 0 of Upriver Route 1 near the mouth of the Tuluksak River

Lower Kalskag, Napaimute, & Crow Village Crew at Mile Post 0 of Upriver Route 1 near the mouth of the Tuluksak River L-R: Joe Simeon, Ludwig White, Ben Leary, Andrew Kameroff, Jr., Nikolai Savage, Mike Evan, Jr., Nick Levi, & Dakota Phillips

This route begins at the spruce tree near the lower end of the sandbar below the mouth of the Tuluksak River. Please note this is different than last year. Do not go into the Tuluksak River to pick up the ice road to Kalskag.

This route has been plowed to knock down the rough ice that still remained even after all the warm weather earlier in the winter.

Trail markers are poles with reflectors spaced 2/10’s of a mile apart. Small K300 type reflective stakes are installed in between the poles for extra safety. All KNOWN open holes in the vicinity of the road are marked with willows and BLUE reflectors.

50 year old plow truck dragging steel flats to knock down the rough ice between Tuluksak & Kalskag

50 year old plow truck dragging steel flats to knock down the rough ice between Tuluksak & Kalskag

Joey Evan - plow truck operator & master mechanic

Joey Evan – plow truck operator & master mechanic

Typical Stretch of Upriver Route 1

Typical Stretch of Upriver Route 1 between Tuluksak & Kalskag

Because this is a plowed road it is susceptible to drifting snow, but the road is still very passible.

Travel Tip: if the drifts in the road get too deep just move off the plowed road. There is very little snow off the road at this time.

Travel time between the two communities averages 90-120 minutes.

Paying Respects to Our Teacher: ice road crew visits the grave of legendary Kalskag Ice Road Pioneer, Dick Nash before heading out on the River

Paying Respects to Our Teacher: ice road crew visits the grave of legendary Kalskag Ice Road Pioneer, Dick Nash before heading out on the River

Upriver Route 2 Kalskag to Aniak:

This first 2/3 of this route upstream of Kalskag to Harry’s gravel pit is marked the same as Route 1 – with a combination of poles and stakes.

Most notable is the area below, at, and just above Harry’s gravel pit.

USE EXTREME CAUTION IN THIS AREA AND STAY BETWEEN THE POLES WITH RED & WHITE REFLECTORS

Panoramic View of the River just below the barge landing at Harry's Gravel Pit: the red circles are OPEN WATER - the road is in between

Panoramic View of the River just below the barge landing at Harry’s Gravel Pit: the red circles are OPEN WATER – the road is in between

It looks scary and is dangerous, but a lot of traffic has passed through this area safely. Travelers just need to stay between the poles.

Stay between the poles with RED & WHITE reflectors

Stay between the poles with RED & WHITE reflectors

This is the open hole on the right side of the panoramic picture. This just opened up last week - a result of the current eating bank away under the ice and the hanging ice caving in leaving swift, deep open water. We've seen this before - just not here!

This is the open hole on the right side of the panoramic picture. This just opened up last week – a result of the current eating the bank away under the ice and the hanging ice caving in leaving swift, deep open water. We’ve seen this before – just not in this area – the River’s always teaching us.

Once past the open water, due to extremely rough ice conditions the truck road is squeezed up against the bank for a short distance before making a rough crossing back to smoother ice. With more snow and wind this area will become a problem for truck travelers.

Truck trail is squeezed between the rough ice, half frozen overflow, and the cut bank just above Carl Morgan's fish camp

Truck trail is squeezed between the rough ice, half frozen overflow, and the cut bank just above Carl Morgan’s fish camp

After this short, stretch there is a rough crossing back to smoother ice. This is the roughest part of the whole ice road between Tuluksak and Chuathbaluk.

Short rough crossing above Carl Morgan's fish camp: no small cars recommended

Short rough crossing above Carl Morgan’s fish camp: no small cars recommended

The remaining 1/3rd of the route above the gravel pit to Aniak is not marked for trucks at this time. The current truck trail in this section is following the K300 markers. Use caution following this route as it uses some side sloughs and beaches that may not be suitable for trucks as the ice continues to drop. A truck trail following the main channel and grading are planned for later this week.

Travel time between the two communities averages 75 to 90 minutes.

Upriver Route 3 Aniak to Chuathbaluk:

This is best part of the Upriver Ice Road system at this time. The route is well marked, has been graded smooth, and all open holes are marked. Travel time between the two communities averages 15-20 minutes.

Best part of the Upriver Ice Road System: Aniak to Chuathbaluk. Good job!

Best part of the Upriver Ice Road System: Aniak to Chuathbaluk. Good job!

Upriver Route 4 Chuathbaluk to Napaimute:

Reconnaissance  of a safe truck route has just been completed. Ice thicknesses are good and smoothness is fair. A marked truck road will be established later this coming week.

THERE IS HOWEVER, EXTREME DANGER AT NAPAIMUTE UPSTREAM OF THE DUMP ROAD 

There is unmarked open water and during the last warm spell the channel in front of the original village has blown out.This is common in the swift section of River. Even though the ice is 2′ – 3′ thick the force of increased water during melting times breaks the ice and blows it out on top of the original ice leaving dangerous swift open water. Anyone traveling through the Napaimute area must avoid the middle of the River.

Red Circle shows the broken up, blow out area in front of Napaimute. Below this the River is flooded with 2" of new ice on top of the overflow

Red Circle shows the broken up, blow out area in front of Napaimute. Below this the River is flooded with 2″ of new ice on top of the overflow

Close up of the swift, deep open water in mid-channel from the blow out at Napaimute.

Close up of the swift, deep open water in mid-channel from the blow out at Napaimute.

That’s the Upriver Ice Road Report.

A big thank you to the organizations and People of Lower Kalskag, Kalskag, Aniak,  Chuathbaluk, and Napaimute for their work to establish safe ice roads between the Middle and Lower Kuskokwim.

*Please note that River and Ice Road conditions change daily. This is not an advisory that it is safe for travel. It is for informational purposes only.