SAR closes trail above Kalskag citing extreme danger

by Shane Iverson on December 15, 2012

The Kalskag-Aniak trail on the Kuskokwim is now a threat to life and safety. Photo courtesy of Mark Leary.

Search and Rescue teams near Kalskag say the established trail on the Kuskokwim River to Aniak is extremely dangerous now that open water has pushed up against the trail, in some places just feet away from where snow machiners are accustomed to driving.

On Friday trail crews from Kalskag closed the trail with branches and they are now directing river traffic on a long detour over another channel on the Kuskokwim, says Mark Leary, a search and rescue organizer.
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The area in question is known as the Birch Tree Crossing. Locales also know it as the area near Harry Faulkner’s gravel pit.

Leary says recent wind storms created strong wave action in an open hole that was already present in the area. Those waves beat against ice along the north bank where the trail is located, eventually breaking the already narrow sections of ice and trail.

Kalskag search and rescue crews also marked a new trail which Leary says is much longer than the original trail. He is cautioning all travelers to use the new trail despite the extended travel time until the original trail freezes again.

Branches on the trail warn snow machiners of open water ahead. Photo courtesy of Mark Leary.

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