Snowmobile club issues warnings about dam opening

Paul Hutchings
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The Junction Trailblazers are keeping an eye on frozen waterways around Deer Lake after Deer Lake Power opened some of the Main Dam doors this week.

This is the third year in a row that the doors have been opened to help alleviate the high water levels of the Grand Lake. It’s also the earliest opening in local memory, leaving some to wonder about the effect on all that ice on the waterways.

Trailblazers executive director Wilf Curlew said the portion of the main trail that runs over the Humber River near the insectarium has always been a concern — a subject he brought to the media’s attention several weeks ago.

But if excess water breaks up the ice, he said, riders crossing the river could be seriously hurt or worse.

“We have placed signs out there warning riders to be extra careful when they cross the river,” said Curlew. “It’s showing us even more that we need to get some kind of structure out there.”

Curlew said he knows of another rider who recently fell through the ice when he stopped his machine to see if his riding companions were catching up to him, even though the ice was quite thick.

“That ice in some places is probably about 36 inches thick and they’re probably hoping the (excess) water just goes under the ice,” he said. “But it could get pushed down the river and expose water in some areas. We’re worried about it and we want people to stay as safe as they can.”

One door of the Main Dam was opened Wednesday, with another scheduled to be opened Thursday.

A third door may be opened this morning, according to Town of Deer Lake officials.

Geographic location: Deer Lake, Grand Lake, Humber River

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