Murky and fast-moving water has prompted a warning from the Shuswap River Ambassadors to stay off the Shuswap River.
The river has reached levels that are higher than normal for this time of year. Usually the river peaks earlier in the Spring.
“We’re recommending people not to go on the water,” said Kaylee Wells, Shuswap River Ambassadors Manager.
“Just with the increased force of the river, it is more likely that you can get sucked under sweepers and log jams. There’s a lot of debris and the water is really murky, so you can’t see all of the hazards. This is not a controlled channel, it’s a river so we do have a lot more environmental hazards versus a controlled channel or canal.”
While recreational activities are not recommended at this time, it’s not banned and the organization has already received reports of recent rescues.
“We did have reports of a resident saying that they did pull a group of people off the river this week. They were in a bad situation and so local residents have pulled people off,” said Wells.
When people go against the advisory, Wells says not only are they at risk but so are those that are tasked to save them if things go wrong.
“It’s disappointing because it does put other people at risk. So local residents, it’s not their job to be rescuing people off the river. It puts them at risk, going to save people and other floaters,” said Wells.
“It does put a strain on any emergency services when people are going out and need to be rescued.”
One Enderby resident, who has been coming to the Shuswap River for the last five years says she’s never seen it this high at this time of year.
Mainina Erdahl recommends anyone who plans to go by the water while it’s in this condition, not to go beyond the shorelines, as that area is more shallow than the middle.
“The water is not clear and you have all that under current and you got all the big logs that still come up, it’s not good,” said Erdahl.
There’s no word yet on how long it will take for the water to decrease to levels where it is safe to float and do other recreational activities, however, it could take up to a couple of weeks.