River users, beware of hazards

Signs posted at the Blue Heron boat ramp warn of a fallen cottonwood tree in the Colorado River.

Boaters and rafters drawn to the Colorado River during the long Memorial Day weekend are being warned of dangerous conditions at a popular location in the water.

According to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, large cottonwood trees have fallen into the river, creating a hazardous debris field downstream from the Blue Heron boat ramp.

The Blue Heron launch off Redlands Parkway near 24 Road is a top spot for people to put in their boats, inner tubes or rafts.

Megan Terlecky, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said her office is aware more and more people will be in the water in the days and weeks ahead, so law enforcement is warning people now.

“It’s going to be an ongoing issue,” she said of the debris field in the river.

Warning signs about the hazard were posted at all major boat launches and near the hazard itself, urging those in the water to stay right toward the right channel that flows alongside Interstate 70 downstream from Blue Heron.

The hazard, a series of three obstructions with the cottonwood trees stuck in the main current of the river, is expected to get worse as water levels go down when the trees will essentially block a channel, Terlecky said.

On Friday afternoon, the Colorado River was at 7.95 feet at Cameo, which was several feet below minor flood stage. At the Colorado-Utah state line, the river was at 8.7 feet, which was nearly 6 feet below the flood stage.


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

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