BSAR Says Ice Road Holding Up To Warmer Weather So Far

Dec 29, 2020

Bethel Search and Rescue members marking open water near Bethel.
Credit Mark Leary / BSAR

Despite some warmer weather recently, Bethel Search and Rescue members said that the Kuskokwim River Ice Road appears to be solid.

A truck trail stretches along the lower Kuskokwim River from Akiak to Napakiak. BSAR member Mark Leary said that the only well-marked section of the trail is the 7 miles between Oscarville and Napakiak. Leary cautioned travelers to remain on the truck trail, where the ice is thicker than other areas of the river. Ice along the trail averages about 14 inches, but gets thinner just a few yards off the trail.

Another BSAR member, Daniel Chakuchin, surveyed the conditions from Bethel to Napakiak in his truck on Dec. 28.

“I haven't seen any water other than the overflow. The ice seems pretty solid to me,” Chakuchin said. “It’s pretty smooth most of the way. There's a little bit of rough ice and the snow was, in some places, about 4 inches. So if any of you guys are traveling on the river, I would suggest you take a shovel just in case.”

Leary said that there is more snow upriver of Bethel than downriver. Above Church Slough to Akiak, about 6 inches of snow covers the ice. He said that all known open water between Bethel and Akiak has been marked.