Dangerous tree leads to closure of river access

A favourite access point to the Campbell River, from the BC Hydro property, is now closed to the public

  • May. 18, 2012 10:00 a.m.

Effective today BC Hydro will prohibit the public from entering the river beside the John Hart Generating Station out of concern for the dangerous tree hazard within the Campbell River.

The old-growth hemlock is located about 500 metres downstream of the station and has fallen across the river, covering about 75 per cent of the river channel.

This is a potentially fatal public safety river hazard and hydro has decided to lock the public river access gate beside the generating station until further notice. The Canyon View Trail remains fully open through BC Hydro property.

In addition to the dangerous tree, the reservoirs that feed the river are filling up as the large snowpack melts off the mountains. Starting tonight, BC Hydro will increase the downstream river flow by 25 per cent.

The increasing warm weather and higher river flow conditions presents a high public safety risk should tubers or water craft become entangled within the tree. The power of water and its currents are often underestimated.

“BC Hydro has been monitoring the situation since the tree fell into the river in March from the wind storm,” said spokesman Stephen Watson in a news release. “We have been in contact with Destiny River Adventures, BC Parks, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.”

BC Hydro asks the public to re-direct and enter the river below the tree hazard. Should the tree be dislodged, public river access from the hydro property will be restored.

“We gave thorough consideration for this situation given the public enjoyment of the river. There are always potential risks from trees lodged against river banks and river safety should always be top of mind,” said Watson.

“This is the first time in recent memory that we have prohibited river access from our property from a downstream river hazard. Given the unique situation of the tree size, the way it has fallen into the river and the river coverage, and the experience required to navigate away from the tree, BC Hydro believes the safety of the public is of highest priority.”

Signs will be placed in the John Hart parking lot and on the river access gate. The only river access that will be provided from the hydro property will be to Destiny River Adventures.

Any questions can be directed to Watson at 250-755-4795 or steve.watson@bchydro.com