Kuskokwim Ice Road's Days Are Numbered

Apr 7, 2017

A man ice fishes on the melting Kuskokwim River outside Bethel.
Credit Dean Swope / KYUK

The Kuskokwim ice road's days are numbered. Though the ice is thick, the snow is melting fast.  

Mark Leary with the Native Village of Napaimute takes monthly ice measurements for the National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center and says that the snow cover varies throughout the middle river and is melting by the hour. He predicts that the ice road may only remain useable for a few more days before it gets too slushy and potholed to drive.

This week, Leary reports that the ice at Napaimute measures 43 inches thick; the ice at Aniak measures 40 inches; and the ice between Aniak and Kalskag ranges from 39 to 49 inches.

The ice near Bethel is 53 inches thick.

The National Weather Service reports that the river ice thickness is slightly above normal across most of the state.