Safety concerns rise with lower water levels

JACKSONPORT, AR (KAIT) – Lower water levels have led to ahigher concern for boaters and their safety.

People have struggled recently to access the White River atJacksonport State Park.

The channel leading from its boat ramp to the river hasdropped significantly since May.

Donna Bentley, the state park interpreter, says bigger boatscan barely fit through the narrowing passageway, but once on the water, boaterscan face other dangers.

"With all our flooding that happened, particularly the lasttwo years," Bentley said, "there are trees and stumps that have settled to thebottom of the river, and those show. Sometimes they're just below the surfacewith this low water, so even in the channels, you definitely need to be goingslow. Just don't go full throttle."

Bentley says people should check the river gauge onlinebefore they bring out their boats.

NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association,provides that information on its Web site here.

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