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Spring Break Up has Started – Stay Off the North Saskatchewan River

April 21, 2011

The City of Edmonton is warning people to stay off the North Saskatchewan River as the ice thaws this spring.

As temperatures have risen, the ice surface on the North Saskatchewan has begun to break up. Residents should avoid going on any remaining ice surfaces no matter how stable they might appear— it is never safe to go on the ice of the North Saskatchewan River.

The large chunks of ice flowing downriver also pose a risk to watercraft.

“Spring thaw has started and there is open water on many parts of the North Saskatchewan, but the river is by no means safe for people or for any kind of boat,” said Dave McAvoy, platoon chief, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services. “It will be some time yet before it’s safe for residents to enjoy the water. Right now we still have a tremendous amount of ice upstream that needs to breakup and melt.”

Safety Tips

Help avoid the need for dangerous rescue operations by taking these precautions:

  • Stay off the North Saskatchewan at all times. It is never safe to go on the river when it is frozen or during the spring breakup.
  • If your pet runs onto the ice or falls through the ice, call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not attempt a rescue yourself.
  • If you see someone on the river, call 9-1-1 or use one of the 19 Bluefones (emergency phones) located in the river valley. Do not attempt a rescue yourself.
  • Educate yourself and your children about water and ice safety.

City boat launches

The Parks Branch is committed to providing safe recreational opportunities for all users. In light of the concerns identified by Fire Services, the City-owned boat launches will remain closed until further notice.