River levels are high and impact river activities

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The sweltering heat on Wednesday made it difficult for some to do activities by the St. Marys River.

Fort Wayne Outfitters has kayak rentals but had to turn away some customers on Wednesday. Fort Wayne Outfitters Retail and Rental Manager Forrest Bandor explained some alternatives to customers when river levels are too high.

“We had to turn a few people away today, but luckily we have another location in Leo, about 25 minutes north of us, which is unaffected by water levels,” Bandor said.

Around Monday, the river level around Promenade Park began to rise and has remained high ever since. Bandor explains how to determine if water levels are too high for people to kayak.

“The river is usually between seven and eight and a half feet, currently at 10 and a half feet, we need it to drop another half foot, to get to that 10 foot region where the currents are going to slow down a bit” “As it rises above ten feet, the current gets quite fast and starts to penetrate the tree line, which can then lead to kayaking hazards,” Bandor explained. “That way if you get tangled in a tree it could lead to a ceiling size, we just want to make sure it’s a good safe environment for everyone to paddle,” Bandor said.

Across the St. Mary’s River, the Sweetbreeze rides can also be affected by high water levels. But Thursday’s rides are still scheduled.

“We’re planning to have rides tomorrow, we’re watching the height of the gauge that peaked a while ago and is coming down,” said Chuck Reddinger, assistant director of recreation. “If we have to cancel due to high water, we offer a full refund,” Reddinger said.

But while the river level is so high, there are a few precautions to take.

“We put up markings to keep people away from the water when it reaches these dock levels,” Reddinger says. “We don’t want people going into the water against a strong enough current, you can’t see where the edge of the dock is, especially with young children, so please stay away of these high water marks,” Reddinger said.

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