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Open Holes Marked On Atmautluak Trail And Lower End Of Kuskokuak Slough

Dec 23, 2017

Ninety willows with blue reflectors stretch across the lower end of Kuskokuak Slough, making a thin line between travelers and three open holes. Bethel Search and Rescue staked the willows on December 22, 2017.
Credit Mark Leary / Bethel Search and Rescue

Open holes are perforating the Kuskokwim river and sloughs, and Bethel Search and Rescue is working to mark as many of them as they can around Bethel with willows and blue reflective tape.

A volunteer marked the open holes between Bethel and Atmautluak on Thursday.

Another group marked open holes in the lower end of Kuskokuak Slough on Friday. A crew from Akiak marked holes in the upper end earlier this week, but three holes in the mid-section of the slough remain unmarked.

River Report from December 22, 2017.
Credit Mark Leary / Bethel Search and Rescue

Bethel Search and Rescue is asking travelers to avoid the slough altogether. Open holes up to a mile in length stretch from bank to bank and a crew blocked off an entire section of the lower end, staking 90 willows with blue reflective tape across the ice. Beyond the line, three large open holes have clustered.

It's all the holes the volunteers will be able to mark before Christmas.

Bethel Search and Rescue says that its seeing more and bigger open holes than it ever remembers existing this time of year, and they’re asking everyone to travel safely over the holidays.