Recreational Hazards

Louie’s Landing, a day-use site on the Paddlers’ Trail and popular access site at the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge is underwater. Photo courtesy of Greg Epler Wood.

Lake flooding presents numerous recreational hazards. Incredible amounts of debris, large litter and logs, now float around the lake. Some normally exposed structures, like the Burlington breakwater, are under water. Many of Lake Champlain’s sand beaches are submerged and closed for the next several weeks. Damages can’t be fully assessed and clean up activities and repairs can’t begin until the waters recede. Additionally, water temperatures remain on the low end of average for this time of year, between 40 and 50º F. Submersion in waters that cold lead to exhaustion or unconsciousness in 30 to 60 minutes. Check in with the health department and local recreation department before taking to the water. Cold, turbid, debris-ridden water should be avoided. All boaters on the lake should exercise extreme caution. To further complicate matters, many of the lake access areas are underwater so launching a boat will present a problem. The National Weather Service office in Burlington discourages recreational boating at this time.