Debris caught up at the Rails To Trails bridge over the St. Mary River is proving to be a hazard to recreationalists.

Debris caught up at the Rails To Trails bridge over the St. Mary River is proving to be a hazard to recreationalists.

St. Mary River flotsam a danger to rafters

Debris caught up at the Rails To Trails bridge over the St. Mary River is proving to be a hazard to recreationalists.

Floating down the river is a ride-at-your-own-risk endeavour, and sometimes Mother Nature can put obstacles in your way. That’s exactly the case for people floating down the St. Mary River recently, said a Wycliffe resident who doesn’t want to be named.

She lives near the Wycliffe Rails-To-Trails bridge and said many people floating down the river aren’t prepared for the log jam beneath one of the bridge’s pillars. She’s seen a number of people flipped overboard, many who look like they aren’t wearing lifejackets.

She’s not convinced that anything will end up happening with it. Her husband and a neighbour have been clearing the area for years now and she worries that no one will take their place, as they are getting too old to do it anymore.

The log jam is on the southernmost pillar of the bridge. One long log hangs down at an angle. She said the arc of the river pushes the rafters right into the log jam.

She just hoped people could be warned before heading into the river.

Log jams in the river occur naturally and unless it is threatening a structure, then they will be left.

Andrew McLeod, acting CAO at the Regional District of East Kootenay, confirmed that the regional district has no responsibility over the condition of the river.

Over at Just Liquid, Rob Porter agreed that this is an act of nature.

“Rafters and kayakers may cut it out but its very unlikely that any other party will take action,” he said. “There is lots of wood in the rivers.”

He said that rafters and paddlers need to be cautious, paddle within their experience levels and navigate the rivers knowing logs and debris will always be a concern.

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