Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Free public Spring River Safety Workshop

| May 27, 2024 3:05 AM

Flathead Rivers Alliance (FRA) announces a free Spring River Safety Workshop for the public to kick-off the 2024 float season. Leading experts from North Valley Search & Rescue and Glacier Raft Company will help get you ready for the water.

The workshop is Wednesday, May 29, 2024, from 6 - 8 p.m. at Sacred Waters Brewing Company at 3250 U.S. Hwy 2 East. in Kalispell. Learn from leading experts about cold water immersion, safety gear, river condition forecasts and handling spring river conditions. Representatives will be on hand to walk you through proper gear, demonstrations and share river search and rescue stories.

“North Valley Search & Rescue serves the Flathead River watershed in Northwest Montana with a territory that borders the west side of Glacier National Park and continues down to the Bob Marshall Wilderness,” said Kerrie Lillie of North Valley Search & Rescue. “Last six years there were a total of 37 call-outs that were on water, averaging six a year. The total number of callouts categorized as swiftwater were 18 for that same period, averaging three per year.  

“With a mission to aid as emergency arises we're not only invested in saving lives, but boosting awareness of safety measures before you head to the water,” she added.

Partners seek to boost efforts to eliminate preventable river fatalities and educate new and seasoned river users on what to know before heading out to the river in spring conditions. The Three Forks of the Flathead River are 219 miles of free-flowing river which lend to seasonal hypothermic water temperatures if not properly outfitted and fluctuating river conditions both in flow and hazards moving often submerged in the river channel. River conditions can make for a thrilling float. Knowing your skill level, proper gear and river and weather conditions is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.

"With 48 years of history, Glacier Raft Company and the guiding community are the most experienced on the Forks on the Flathead,” said Mike Cooney of Glacier Raft Co. “We train intensely every spring during run off and our guides form a deep respect for the rivers and their challenges. 

“Safety is our top priority and we are honored to share our knowledge and experience with the Flathead Valley Community. We take pride in our safety record and stewardship on the Flathead,” he added.

Attendance is free and no reservation required to attend. Learn more about Flathead Rivers Alliance’s 2024 education, outreach and stewardship programming and events by visiting www.flatheadrivers.org.