Saturday, June 12, 2010
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Logan County waterways deemed unsafe for recreation

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[June 12, 2010]  Authorities are saying that high water levels and debris clogging Logan County waterways has made their travel unsafe. Recreationists are being asked to stay off local creeks.

Emergency management, the sheriff's department and other county authorities say that anyone thinking of water recreation should exercise extreme caution.

"Anything without a motor on it should stay off the waterways," Logan County Emergency Management Agency director Dan Fulscher said on Thursday.

High water levels over recent years have pulled a lot of trees, brush and debris into all of Logan County's waterways, including Kickapoo, Salt and Sugar creeks. Conditions are extremely hazardous particularly for tubing, kayaking and canoeing. 

Local creeks are near or over flood stage now, and with the continuing threat of more rain, authorities are considering more drastic measures.

"If we feel this is going to get out of hand, we'll shut down the waterways altogether," Fulscher said. 

According to Fulscher, Logan County's first responders and rescue teams have responded to 27 water-related rescue calls in 36 months, with 12 recoveries and four deaths. That's more than they see at Clinton Lake, he said. 

Nearly every heavy rain and flood period has resulted in multiple calls for help. Often requests have included the boat and dive teams. Support assistance is needed from fire, rescue, paramedics, emergency management, the sheriff's department and has oftentimes required requesting mutual aid from other counties for these incidents, many of which were avoidable.

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Crews have been called out several times this spring to search for people who have gone missing on high-water creeks. Most searches have had positive results with the people simply delayed.

However, recently the results were tragic. Search crews spent days looking for a missing kayaker on Salt Creek. The man was found. He had been pulled under a logjam the other side of a sharp bend in Salt Creek. 

With forecasts of more rain and heat index readings of 95 to 100, it might be best to choose an indoor air-conditioned activity or head for the pool this weekend and maybe even the rest of the summer.



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