11-25 BSAR Video of November Ice Jam at Coffee’s Bend 10 miles Below Kalskag

“Use Extreme Caution”

DANGER: open water within sight of Bethel & a four wheeler trail leading upriver

DANGER: open water within sight of Bethel & a four wheeler trail leading upriver

November 25, 2014 – Bethel Search & Rescue River Survey*
With a few cooler days and the light dusting of snow, BSAR & Trooper Pilot Earl Samuelson decided this would be a good day to do an aerial survey prior to the holiday weekend. The area covered was from Napakiak to the ice jam at Coffee’s Bend below Kalskag. This is what was observed.
Summary:
The recent cool weather has helped the River heal up a little and allow People to start resuming some of their normal early winter activities close to their communities – like setting nets under the ice and manaqing (ice fishing), but it hasn’t been enough. There are still open holes near every community – too many to count and some in unusual places. Ice thickness reports have been averaging about 6”. The River is mostly smooth except for the jammed area at Coffee’s Bend. The ice at Aniak just stopped moving early this morning. Main River travel on the Lower Kuskokwim is not recommended at this time.

Risky Travel: a snowmachiner passes near an open hole

Risky Travel: a snowmachiner passes near an open hole

Risky Travel: a snowmachiner passes near an open hole

Risky Travel: a snowmachiner passes near an open hole

A Few Examples of the Many Open Holes near Our Communities:

Napakiak Danger

Napakiak Danger

Danger

Danger

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 10.02.38 PM

SHORT & DEADLY:
THERE IS A MINIMUM OF 5 OPEN HOLES BETWEEN NAPASKIAK & BETHEL
THERE IS A MINIMUM OF 6 OPEN HOLES BETWEEN BETHEL & THE MOUTH OF THE GWEEK RIVER

Beware of following the single snow machine or ATV track unless you know who made it and you trust them

Closing:
Things are getting better but we’re still way behind on winter. Remember those good years when we could travel on the River to nearby villages by truck on Thanksgiving?
A little more patience and a lot of caution is needed yet.
Be Safe & Happy Thanksgiving from BSAR
Thank you.
*Please note: This is not an advisory that it is safe for travel. It is for informational purposes only.

11/21 Kalskag River Update

As of 21:00 last night the water had risen to the red line in the picture. Kalskag reports it has dropped “a few inches” as of 9;27 this morning.

11-20 River at Kalskag at 2100