Grand Teton National Park

A tricky river bend leading into a mid-channel logjam is repeatedly capsizing and pinning boats on the Snake River near the historic Bar BC Ranch.

Grand Teton National Park sent word in a press release that the obstruction has led to at least eight incidents rangers have responded to in the past month. Boaters floating the Deadmans Bar to Moose stretch of the river should be skilled and prepared, rangers cautioned.

“The outcomes of these incidents have been favorable, but several close calls occurred,” the Teton Park notice stated. “The park recognizes and appreciates the efforts of concessionaire river guides and fellow boaters that lent a hand as their efforts likely saved the lives of those they helped.”

Anybody floating the swift, braided and obstruction-strewn stretch of river leading south from Deadmans Bar should be skilled enough on the oars to maneuver in tight quarters and read the river well in advance. Novice boaters should consider other sections of the Snake, the park warned in its press release.

Personal flotation devices have saved lives after boats have capsized in recent weeks.

“During one of these incidents, both occupants of the boat hit a log jam and fell into the water,” the park’s news release said. “They were swept under the log jam, resurfaced, and were swept under a second time. One of the individuals stated, ‘The life jacket saved my life.’ ”

After Sept. 1, anyone putting in on the Snake at Jackson Lake Dam will have no choice but to float all the way to Deadmans Bar — a stretch that includes faster water. To allow the boat ramp area to be rebuilt, Pacific Creek landing is closing for the season. The closure has potential to push more boaters onto the Deadmans-to-Moose stretch of the Snake, where they’ll encounter the mid-channel logjams that are leading to repeated rescue operations.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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