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Jun-02-2009 12:15printcomments

North Santiam River Dangerous for Boaters

Salem News encourages everyone to boat safely on our scenic rivers, and will keep you posted on these conditions as they change.

North Santiam River
Courtesy: wikipedia.org

(JEFFERSON, Ore.) - Boaters on the lower North Santiam River should use caution on the section between Green’s Bridge and Jefferson. Two different areas have collected large amounts of debris which can cause serious danger to river traffic.

According to Scott Shepherd, Asst Chief of the Jefferson Fire Department, the first problem area is on the North Santiam River less than a ¼ mile upstream from the confluence with the South Santiam River.

This area contains some strainers (trees that are hanging low across the main channel) that are collecting debris. Boaters attempting to pass underneath these strainers are likely to capsize and be thrown into the river.

The second and larger problem area is about another ½ mile upstream from this location.

Here a “significant amount” of trees and debris have collected in the main channel, blocking the path of boaters. This is also a very dangerous location because it is at a 90 degree turn in the river, and boaters will have little warning to get to shore and avoid the danger.

Asst. Chief Shepherd explained that there have been at least 5 rescues over the past week between these two locations. Boaters should scout this lower section thoroughly, and drag their boats around any dangers they locate.

Shepherd also strongly suggests that everyone wear life jackets. On two recent rescues this past weekend, less than ¼ of the persons rescued were wearing life jackets.

Although the air temperature may be warm, the river water temp’s are still in the low 50’s. The water this time of year is extremely cold, and water levels can still fluctuate greatly due to melting snow.

Salem News encourages everyone to boat safely on our scenic rivers, and will keep you posted on these conditions as they change.

Also check this Salem-News.com report: Twelve Rescued from the North Santiam River in Jefferson in Two Days from June 1st.


When time allows, Gerrit and his family make the break to the Detroit Lake area and other parts of Oregon where hunting and fishing are the order of the day. Gerrit has a way with words that is drawn from both education and life experience. While Gerrit has a full time career in law enforcement and firefighting before that, he has also taken the time to polish his natural skills at delivering written and visual information. He used to have an outdoor column in the South Salem Post. He has also written regular articles for Oregon Fishing & Hunting News and ESPN.com. Gerrit's experience in life is both awe-inspiring and honorable. Gerrit is likable, uniquely qualified, energetic and down to earth. He helps fill the void when it comes to articles about all of the amazing things Oregon has to offer those who have a connection with nature; be it through hiking, fishing, photography, hunting, or so many other outdoor activities here.




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Scott June 4, 2009 3:31 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks Gerrit. There are many dangerous areas on that river for both boaters and swimmers. Boat ramp areas often have a calm appearance at the put-in and take-out points. Once people float down around the first bend folks sometimes realize their fantasy float doesn't not match reality very much.


Lenia June 4, 2009 6:28 am (Pacific time)

And swimmers

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