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National Park Officials Urge Visitors to Use Extreme Caution Around Waterways

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Date: May 21, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Currents in rivers, streams, and creeks are still moving too quickly to be safe for water recreation in most places. Drowning is one of the most common causes of death in the Sierra Nevada.

For your safety, please keep the following hazards in mind when recreating near water in the region:

1. Surface currents may appear calm even when deeper water is very swift.

2. Underwater obstacles, such as rocks and downed trees, may not be visible but can pose a serious drowning hazard.

3. Rivers and lakes in the Sierra region are generated by snow melt and are very cold at this time of year. These cold temperatures can considerably decrease survival times in rivers and lakes.

Additionally, a warm winter and mild spring have caused unusually early peak flow conditions in Sierran waterways. Visitors to backcountry areas should be aware of early snow melt and high water in backcountry creeks and streams. Stream crossings which may be passable in summer may be dangerous and difficult to navigate during conditions such as these.

For more information on water conditions, please call Yosemite National Park at 209/372-0200.

Did You Know?

Riparian area in Tuolumne Meadows

Riparian communities are adjacent to the river channel and tributaries; they are the interface between the river and surrounding meadow and upland communities. They provide specialized habitat and important nutrients to the meadow and river systems.