Park County Sheriff - Ice Isn't Nice At This Time of Year

Park County Sheriff – Ice Isn’t Nice At This Time of Year

Written by on March 9, 2021

It’s technically still winter but spring weather is upon us – and the Park County Sheriff’s Office wants to make sure nobody finds themselves on thin ice.

On Sunday, March 7, a group of Park County residents decided to go for a side-by-side excursion in Buffalo Bill State Park. During their trip, they took their vehicles out onto the ice on the North Fork side of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir.

Once out on the ice, it gave way. Both vehicles broke through and were stuck in the water underneath.

Thankfully, none of the passengers were hurt. On Monday, the owners were able to return to the lake and retrieve the side-by-sides without additional assistance.

This was an uneventful incident – but it easily could have been worse or even fatal.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office took to Facebook to remind everyone that any ice-capades are dangerous at this time of year. With the warmer weather creeping into Cody lately, it’s only going to get worse.

Ice thickness is notoriously inconsistent, despite appearances. Any number of conditions, including but not limited to, stress fractures, air pockets, or overly fatigued ice can cause otherwise strong ice to give way.

Moreover, ice is always and continually changing. This is true even when there aren’t days of 60-degree weather and sunshine.

Sheriff Scott Steward has a simple recommendation: don’t go onto the ice.

Ice conditions will continue to “rapidly deteriorate” as Park County moves into spring. It’s best not to take any chances.

But if you must . . .

The sheriff recommends the following tools for anybody venturing onto the ice for any reason or any amount of time.

  • A personal floatation device
    • On average, a person who’s fallen into ice can drown within 15 minutes. This is due to the loss of muscle function caused by the nearly freezing water. A personal floatation device will at least ensure your head stays above water.
  • A pair of ice awls or ice picks
    • These devices – one in each hand – should allow you to grip the ice, lifting yourself up and out of the water. Ideally, picks should have a loop around their necks for additional assistance.

At any rate, no ice adventures should be done alone. Keep your phone or other people close at hand or at least let someone know where you are going.

For additional information on ice safety during the spring transition, check out this sheriff-recommended ice fishing website.

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