H Marker Lake in Bethel, which is used as a winter road, is no longer safe for vehicles. That’s the word from the city’s public works department. Chuck Willert, Public Works Director, says, “I went across it about a week and a half ago maybe, and I was nervous. You could feel soft spots in the ice. It wasn’t holes in it but it was soft spots like bumps.”
Now, a week and a half later, it’s deteriorated even more with the warm ups and sun melt during the day.
“There’s a lot of water on it and my concern is that there could be some holes opening up in the ice and nobody would be able to see them until they hit them,” Willert says, “and it’s not worth taking the chance. That lake’s not really that deep but it could be just deep enough to where you couldn’t even get out of a vehicle if you fell through.”
H Marker Lake has been used as a short cut through town after the nearby road closed down about 5 years ago. The road was closed by the Polk family because they say it wasn’t maintained properly and no one ever got permission to go through their native allotment. The City of Bethel and Bureau of Indian Affairs have been working to re-open the road in recent years.
For now, residents will have to drive around town following a horse shoe-shaped road system.
“It’s going to be, drive around now through the rest of the summer,” Willert says.