VPSO warns heavy vehicles from commuting on the Kuskokwim

by Charles Enoch on April 15, 2014

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Mike Riley, head of Bethel Search and rescue reported that the river between Bethel and Napaskiak has a lot of surface water, especially deep on the sides. Potholes on the ice trail hinder commuters to the point of traveling on the sides of the main trail. All of these and added danger rampant during high tides.

There are deep holes in the entrance to the boat harbor including one near Joe Pete’s fish camp that is starting to open though hazard markers are still in place. The trail to Schwalbee Island is reported to have a lot of surface water especially deep along the sides. It is advised for all smaller automobiles to stay off the river if possible. If you are to travel you are advised to have a travel plan made known to friends or family.

Alaska State Troopers say that two commuters that the lower mouth of Church Slough has waters that are at least 5 feet deep and that it is among the most dangerous areas to travel.

Bethel Search and Rescue recommends that all travelers use caution and advise people not to travel at night.

Max Olick, a Village public Safety Officer from Kwethluk called in this morning during KYUK’s Yuk to Yuk call in program saying the river may be getting dangerous with ice being less than 2 feet thick in some areas. A lack of snow this winter may be accelerating the melting of the Kuskokwim River, he says and warns that heavier vehicles like automobiles should be restricted from commuting on the river.

“Right now I see trucks going up and down and it’s not safe enough to travel. I would advise to take caution when traveling,” Says Olick.

Olick says there is standing water on the river along with potholes. He advises everyone to let someone know if they are planning to travel on the river.

Mike Riley with Bethel Search and Rescue says he plans to issue an updated report on Kuskokwim River conditions this afternoon.

Yugcetun qanemcia.

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