Visitors should keep informed on conditions

Refuge Notebook

Posted: Friday, March 07, 2008

It's that time of year again. The days are getting longer and warmer. Yippee! Unfortunately, longer, warmer days aren't always such a good thing.

As I write this, one of our law enforcement officers updated me with current conditions on Hidden Lake. After responding to assist someone whose vehicle had gone through the ice near the rocks at the north end of the lake, he said, "There's two inches of water over the ice. Ice is 20 inches thick in most areas, 15-20 inches in others, with thinning ice along the shore and around the rocks."

Another refuge officer advised that ice on the north side of the lake goes out first, especially near the rock faces where the sun warms the area all day. He also said that there are a few warm springs in the lake that keep those areas warmer and the ice thinner. The vehicle was successfully pulled from where it had gone through the ice and was able to make it to the campground. Unfortunately, the tow truck that was responding said he went off the road because of very treacherous and icy road conditions on Skilak Lake Road.

Driving on any road this time of year can be dangerous, and refuge roads possibly even more so. Some of the roads are maintained by State Department of Transportation and others by refuge maintenance staff, but most are not given the attention that main highway routes are.

Anyone planning to visit the refuge should be aware of current conditions. Feel free to call the refuge at 907-262-7021 to find out if we have a recent update. Although we encourage you to contact us for conditions, verify them for yourself before starting your adventure. This time of year, conditions are changing daily, so be safe!

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