Due to an unexpected malfunction on one of the gates on the Hatfield Dam, Hatfield Hydro operators are drawing down Lake Arbutus. North American Hydro will continue to draw down the Lake Arbutus pool a total of six feet. This lowering of water levels will potentially create dangerous conditions on the ice on Lake Arbutus, as the water level drops below the ice layer. As a result of this unscheduled draw down, and of the potential impact on ice conditions, any access to Lake Arbutus has been closed.
“Safety is our main concern,” states John Ross Clark County Emergency Management Director. “Once water levels are lowered, we are concerned with the integrity and stability of the ice.”
Snowmobile trails which cross the lake are being closed, as well as other entry points to the lake including the boat landings to prevent vehicular access onto the ice. “It will be extremely unsafe to be on the ice," says Jackson County Emergency Management Coordinator Kristina Page.
The snowmobile trail across Lake Arbutus will be rerouted in Jackson County to Clay School Road to Highway K. The snowmobile trail in Clark County will be rerouted via County Rd J to Clark County Trail Intersection Number 1. The Black River snowmobile crossing at Black River Falls will also be closed. It is unknown how long access to Lake Arbutus will be closed.
Clark and Jackson County officials have posted closure signs to inform people to stay off the ice.
People should not venture out onto the ice for any reason.
Clark County and Jackson County officials are monitoring the situation and will provide updates as necessary.
Water levels on Lake Arbutus, as well as other areas along the Black River, can be monitored via our website by selecting the Hydrology - Rivers & Lakes tab in the left menu of our website, or you can directy your browser to: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/arx/?n=hatfield_arbutus_monitor