ROSEBURG — The Sheriff's Office Marine Division and Douglas County Fire District No. 2 officials want people to be aware of several obstructions in areas of the North Umpqua River between the end of Sunburn Alley and River Forks Park.
Between last summer and this summer, debris and logs have accumulated in the rapids between these two points which may pose a significant risk to boaters and individuals floating the river.
Local public safety officials are working with the Oregon State Marine Board to address the concern, but in the interest of safety want to make the public aware of the obstructions. Persons who choose to navigate this area should scout ahead and use extreme caution.
"It is important for those recreating to understand what it looks like downstream and plan accordingly. Often, these obstructions are not visible until it is too late to change course," said Sgt. Brad O'Dell of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. "As always, we encourage everyone to safely enjoy the water sober and to wear their life jacket."
Lt. Ryan Felker of Douglas County Fire District #2 says the District has posted signs warning those arriving at boat ramps of the hazards which will be displayed in time for the 4th of July.
"We understand that life jackets can be cumbersome and sometimes an annoyance. That’s why it so important to find one that’s fits correctly, is comfortable and is used. They truly save lives.", Lt. Felker said. "We have had multiple incidents that have taken the lives of individuals, but had they been wearing a life jacket the outcome may have been different," he said.
Both agencies encourage the public to use the river systems and to enjoy them but stress the importance of knowing what lies ahead of you and doing it safely.