U.S. Forest Service Stressing Caution on Northern Michigan Rivers as Water Levels Rise

With warmer temperatures expected during the 4th of July holiday, one spot people will head to cool off will be rivers.

But the U.S. Forest Service has a warning for people about the water levels on those rivers.

The Pere Marquette River will soon be filled with people enjoying the 4th of July weekend. But the U.S. Forest Service says the water levels on the river are higher than normal.

“We already had high water due to the winter that we had and with the storms that have come in, water has obviously come up and come down, it’s a little flashier than normal. Because of the fluctuations in water, what was navigable one day, may not be the next,” said District Ranger Jake Lubera.

The higher water has also hidden trees that came down in the river during storms late last summer, something else people on the river will need to watch out for.

“The river is obviously changing, the river changes year by year, but we’re seeing a little bit more changes this year specifically because of the storms and the trees coming down,” said Lubera.

And the forest service says other rivers are seeing high water levels too. That’s why they’re stressing the importance of having and wearing life jackets.

“Obviously we see the increases in Lake Michigan as well as Lake Huron, that’s all fed from our rivers and our rivers are up. Higher, water, hidden debris, that’s basically going to limit your reaction time. If you’re new to the river, if you haven’t been on the river this year, you’re not going to be able to see things and it could potentially be very dangerous,” explained Lubera.

The Forest Service is also asking people to drink responsibly if they’re out on the river and to make sure they clean up garbage.