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King County warns of Cedar River hazards as long weekend and warmer weather approach


Several new logjams have formed along a portion of the Cedar River between Renton and Maple Valley, and King County safety officials are urging river users to avoid the area until safer conditions are present.


The King County Sheriff’s Office is warning 2016_cedar_strainer_belmondorecreational river users to avoid the Cedar River from Maple Valley to Renton because of about 12 logjams that pose a serious risk to anyone attempting to navigate this 10-mile stretch of river.

“The number of in-river hazards, including channel-spanning logs at several locations, is the highest we’ve seen in some time,” said King County Sheriff John Urquhart. “From a public safety standpoint we’re asking boaters and floaters to stay out of this portion of the Cedar River.”

The Sheriff’s Office and employees with the Water and Land Resources Division of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks have identified several locations where alterations can be made to reduce the hazard and improve safe portage. Sign up to receive notifications of river hazards or get more information about all known boating hazards at

While temporary warning signs alerting river users of downstream hazards are in place at several locations along the Cedar River from Maple Valley to Renton, it is important for river users to know that rivers are dynamic and conditions are always changing.

Additionally, hiking around logjams can be difficult, with little time to successfully navigate and maneuver a craft to a safe exit.

Rivers are inherently dangerous, and the current spring conditions of cold, fast-moving water increases the risk to river users. While air temperatures may be warm, cold water creates an increased risk of hypothermia and a decreased ability to respond to logjam hazards.

Public Health – Seattle & King County recommends choosing safer swimming options with lifeguards present, such as a beach, lake or pool.

When floating or boating in rivers remember these basic tips:

-  Always wear a lifejacket, regardless of your ability to swim. 
-  Avoid alcohol and drugs when recreating on the river.
-  Watch children closely when they are on or near any type of water; stay close enough to reach them immediately.
-  Always tell someone your route and when and where you expect to put in and take out. 
-  Have a back-up plan for emergency contact in case your trip is cut short by an unforeseen obstacle or emergency. 
-  Never float the river alone and, if possible, make sure there is at least one oared craft in your group in case a rescue is needed. 
-  Bring a dry bag with food, water, warm clothes and sturdy footwear for hiking around danger areas.

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