Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Road access to St. Croix River restricted - May. 13, 2014

Spring weather has finally arrived, and as the first long weekends approach in Canada and the US, many people are thinking of paddling the St. Croix River. The St. Croix International Waterway Commission, who manage campsites and boat launches throughout the watershed, want to provide boaters with an update on spring conditions and access. As well, we would like to remind boaters of safety information.
Users can access the river and lakes from Canada at Spednic Lake Park, Loon Bay, and Fosterville. Access on the American side is possible at Vanceboro, as well as at Little Falls. At this time, however, the SCIWC would caution people that access roads are soft and muddy.
At the time of this release, all access roads to Scott Brook and Gravel Island, NB are closed. There are several large washouts and the road is, at this time, too soft for equipment to access the sites for repair. The Department of Transportation is monitoring conditions and will begin work as soon as conditions allow.
What does this mean for paddlers eager to get out on the water? The SCIWC recommends that you check weather and water flow conditions before you leave (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?01018500), and alter your route due to road closures. Driving on closed roads causes them to deteriorate further, possibly extending the closure period. The SCIWC asks that users obey all road closure signs.
“A road closure sign means that the road is not safe to drive on,” says Abby Pond, Executive Director of the SCIWC. “In the case of the road into Scott Brook and Gravel Island, the road surface is soft, and there are two large washouts. If people try to drive over it during the closure, they risk damage to their vehicles, as well as a possible fine for ignoring the closure. Please stay off the closed roads.”
Water flows are currently within safe margins for paddling on the St. Croix. However, the current is swift, the water is still high, and temperatures are cold. The SCIWC would like to remind anyone who is heading out on the water to practice safe boating and to be respectful of the river and other users. That means wearing a personal flotation device, obeying laws regarding alcohol consumption, carrying equipment and clothing for all conditions, and having a trip plan left with someone at home.
A trip plan, a change of dry clothing, and a PFD could mean the difference between life and death at this time of year. Tragic boating accidents such as the recent one on Slocan Lake, BC, remind us that we must be prepared at all times, no matter our age or experience.
The SCIWC would also like to remind waterway users that the St. Croix is an international border. One country travel and camping rules are in place. You can find more information about this on our website at www.stcroix.org.
Please get in touch with Abby Pond, Executive Director, if you would like further information or a detailed interview regarding this release.
The St. Croix International Waterway Commission is an international partnership that protects and enhances the health, heritage and beauty of a shared waterway. We envision a vibrant organization that protects, restores and manages natural habitats; offers exceptional backcountry experiences; and celebrates our shared, cross-boundary cultural heritage.