Kettle River Q&A for Aug. 1: Have fun but be safe on river

Kettle and Granby River activities are part of the reason why the Boundary is so popular in the summer but be safe.

Swimmers and paddlers enjoying the Kettle River downstream of Grand Forks.

If you ask a visitor why they come to the Boundary in the summer, chances are they will tell you they float the rivers, swim, or enjoy camping, fishing and boating at any number of our lakes, big and small.

One fine day of canoeing between the border and Atwood Bridge last year we passed over 130 floaters, rafters, tubers, as well as dozens of people swimming, fishing, lounging and jumping.

There are few places in the world with such clean, warm, swimmable waters, and visitors and residents celebrate that every summer. “I have two friends up here that still rave about floating the Kettle with their two kids years ago – a lifetime memory for them,” said one respondent to last fall’s survey.

A number of small beaches and swimming holes are scattered along the rivers, both close to town and very remote.

As former resident Graham Knutson recalled, “Growing up, I would go for a run or bike ride around town, then jump in the Granby at Sandy Beach or Riverside – refreshing! We love coming back here in the summer for the rivers.”

A few tips can help a fun and beautiful day stay fun for everyone:

Always swim and float with a buddy, and let others know where you will be getting in and out of the water. Know and avoid going anywhere near the location of river hazards such as rapids and waterfalls.

Always know the depth of water you are jumping into, and beware of submerged logs, boulders and other hazards as you are floating or paddling.

Avoid jumping from bridges – water depth, debris and other hazards can change from week to week.

Wear a properly-fitted life jacket or other personal floatation device when boating. Life jackets are available to borrow for free at the Grand Forks Recreation Department

Wear sun protection, bring lots of water and snacks, and bring a bag to pick up after yourself (or others!)

Drinking and swimming or floating can be very dangerous – be safe while in the water.

Be respectful of private property along the river and near access points.

Graham Watt is project co-ordinator of the Kettle River Watershed Management Plan, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. Ask Watt watershed questions at plan@kettleriver.ca. Figures and footnotes are included online at http://kettleriver.ca – look for the link in the menu to “Kettle River Q&A.

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