– Vehicle access to Chestnut Beach recreation area is temporarily closed because of hazardous road conditions, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) officials at the Lower Granite Natural Resources Management Office announced, today.
Pedestrians can still access the recreation area, which is located at the end of Chestnut Street along the Snake River shoreline in Clarkston, Washington. Accumulation of snow and ice creating hazardous conditions on the steep-angled road prompted the temporary closure to vehicles. The gate will be reopened once road conditions improve. Corps maintenance staff are working to clear parts of the Greenbelt Trail along the river and, depending upon time, resources and weather conditions, plan to clear avenues of access to Corps-managed recreation areas.
Corps park rangers encourage visitors to come and enjoy the many unique recreation opportunities that winter weather offers along the river, while also staying safe. Here are a few tips about water-related winter recreation:
Check weather forecasts and keep an eye on what the weather’s actually doing while you’re out on the river.
Be aware that boat ramps usually are not cleared of snow and ice. Ramps may be open when you get there, but become unusable because of floating ice that blocks a ramp or the ramps become too slick for a vehicle to pull a boat out.
Ice on the rivers -- There is no safe ice! Conditions on the Snake and Clearwater rivers can be unpredictable. Please, don’t risk your safety by venturing onto thin ice.
Boating -- Always wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Have a float plan which includes telling someone what area of the river you are going and what time you plan to be off the water.
Following these tips can help someone be rescued quickly, if they unexpectedly find themselves in the cold river water, Corps Park Ranger Janet Cook advised. “Because once someone falls into a cold body of water, it becomes a race against hyperthermia. When a person’s average body temp (98.6 degrees) falls below normal, it can make the simplest of tasks become impossible, like swimming, trying to put on a life jacket, or even using a cell phone or radio to call for help.
“When river users do their part for safety, they’re not only helping themselves, should something unexpectedly go wrong -- they’re also helping the rescue team quickly find and help them,” Cook added.
All winter outdoor-recreation enthusiasts should dress warmly and stay dry to help avoid cold-weather health hazards. For more tips on cold-weather health safety, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/duringstorm/outdoorsafety.html.
To find a Corps-managed recreation area near you, check out the Walla Walla District’s website at http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/.