With temperatures warming up and kids soon out of school for another summer, area rivers and streams will become more popular in the coming weeks. Catherine Caruso, with the Forest Service, said many rivers across the Pacific Northwest have higher flows than normal for this time of year, thanks to recent rain.

“These rivers are extremely cold and a lot of them move a lot faster than they appear. And, even if you are floating in a boat or on a device, if you’re dumped into that water and that water’s extremely cold, you can end up in trouble a lot more quickly than I think a lot of people realize."

Caruso says last year’s extremely hot and dry conditions may have given swimmers more confidence in their abilities. She said as you head out, it’s important to respect the water and what’ it’s power can do.

“Last summer was a really tough summer for that, with all of the drought and water levels being so low. The rain we’ve gotten has been a big help with that. But it does mean we’re expecting to see a lot more people out on the water."

Caruso urges everyone to wear a life-jacket; whether you’re on a paddleboard, boat, raft or kayak. 

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