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Forest Service urges caution on northern Michigan waterways

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Posted at 1:12 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 13:12:38-04

CADILLAC, Mich. — The USDA Forest Service is urging visitors to exercise caution on waterways throughout the Huron-Manistee National Forests while celebrating the July 4 holiday.

Recent weather has generated higher than average water levels on several popular recreational rivers, including the Pere Marquette, the Pine, and the White. River users may:

- Experience strong currents;
- Have difficulty navigating under bridges and other low-hanging obstacles; and
- Encounter increased debris in the water.

“Even experienced paddlers have been surprised by recent changes to the rivers,” said Dave Jaunese, Assistant Ranger for the Baldwin/White Cloud District. “The biggest challenge for paddlers right now is that there are more obstacles on and underneath the water.”

Although popular tubing rivers such as the AuSable are largely clear of debris, users may experience swifter currents and reduced float times. Tubers are advised that low water temperatures can induce hypothermia even in the summertime.

“It’s really important that river users plan ahead and prepare,” said Recreation and Hydropower Program Manager Kristen Thrall. “Know your float time, your final landing, and the location of rest stops along the way.”

Visitors to all waterways are reminded to heed posted warning signs, moderate their alcohol consumption, and wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved [uscgboating.org] personal flotation devices.

“The rivers see heavy use during summer holidays,” said Thrall. “Please remember that your actions can impact the safety and experience of other visitors.”

For more information about conditions on specific rivers, please contact the nearest ranger station [fs.usda.gov]. Additional safety information may be found here [fs.fed.us], and alerts concerning the rivers will be posted to the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ Facebook page.

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