Ground Truthing

Visiting Kalskag SAR Member Tim Alexie drills ice in the Gweek River.

by Bethel Search & Rescue

November 22, 2019: BSAR River Update

Summary: Due to weather, BSAR has not been able to complete aerial surveys of the Kuskokwim River above Tuluksak. But seeing that there is increasing traffic to Bethel from nearby villages we have begun to take a look at the Bethel area overland trails. The Bethel to Akiachak trail is starting to be heavily used so we traveled by snow machine and ATV over this one first. Ice measurements were taken along the trail. This is what was observed:

•Ice on Hangar Lake averaged 10” along the existing trail

•Ice on the other sloughs and lakes along the trail also averaged 10”

•Ice in the Gweek River was 8” – 12” at all trail crossings

•The rough ice in the main Kuskokwim was 16” to 18”

•The trail to Akiachak goes to the airport NOT out to the River below the village like it normally does

•There is open water right below the tank farm and thin ice stretching further down over this recently frozen area

AT THE BIG GRASS LAKE BETWEEN THE GWEEK AND KUSKOKWIM TREELINES THE TRAIL GOES TO THE LEFT TO COME OUT BY THE AKIACHAK AIRPORT. THE TRAIL ON THE RIGHT GOES OUT TO THE RIVER IN AN AREA OF THIN ICE AND OPEN WATER—DO NOT USE THIS TRAIL AT THIS TIME.

Shell ice is present everywhere from the high water freeze up. We saw hollow areas as much as four feet deep.

PLEASE DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE

*Please note this is for informational purposes only – it is not an advisory that it is safe to travel.

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