The combination of open holes close to traditional trails and traffic between villages has been concerning Bethel Search and Rescue, so they decided to mark some open areas over the weekend. The all-volunteer group says the constant strong northerly winds have been preventing open water areas from freezing. And there has been limited travel by ATV between Akiachak and Bethel over the past few days.
They say Hangar Lake has three large open water holes right in the middle, where the main trail normally crosses. The volunteers observed four wheeler tracks weaving in and around this dangerous area. They say there are several more holes scattered along the east, south, and west shores. Water depth in the largest open holes is 5 feet or more.
A search and rescue team spent Sunday afternoon marking a large area around the open holes in the middle of Hangar Lake, but the other holes around the edges of the lake are NOT marked.
All marking was done with survey stakes with blue reflectors. Blue is the regional symbol for open water, deep overflow, or thin ice.
BSAR says the main trail route north of Hangar Lake has too many open holes to mark so they are still advising NO travel between Akiachak and Bethel at this time.