Floaters: Beware of Log Jam Hazards on Western Montana Rivers
Temperatures have finally reached into the 90s in western Montana and the beat-the-heat armadas are hitting the waterways.
While you should always exercise caution, keeping your eyes open for debris and other hazards in the river, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells us that they are receiving a higher-than-usual number of reports of such obstructions. That includes numerous reports of several channels being blocked by logs on the Bitterroot River.
Things can change quickly, and a hazard today could be safe passage tomorrow or vice versa. But as river flows drop and activity picks up on the rivers, floaters should scout ahead and be on the lookout for debris in the water that can be a serious safety concern.
Montana FWP says that as of yesterday (Wednesday), they had received a lot of calls so far this season from boaters finding more debris and log jams in local rivers than they would receive in an average year. In the past week, the Bitterroot River has had log jams in multiple locations.
Among others, log jams have been reported to block large parts of the Bitterroot in the sections below Angler’s Roost, Veteran’s Bridge, Bell Crossing and Tucker Crossing access sites. Anyone who spends time on the Bitterroot knows these are some of the hot spots for high floating traffic. That's especially true with river flows dropping and activity picking up in the summer heat.
Montana FWP reminds you: "Logs and other debris can overturn boats and trap gear and boaters beneath the water...if you do go, wear a life jacket, take it slow, scout ahead, and walk “portage” boats around hazards.
"Taking extra time to research and watch for obstructions and to stop and walk around is a critical safety step."
Fun and safe floating, everyone.
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