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Be safe in Lake Huron watershed this winter

It is not safe to walk on snow and ice on the Lake Huron shoreline.


Residents and visitors reminded to avoid lake and other waterbodies during season of cold temperatures 

The return of winter and dropping temperatures is a time for residents and visitors to remember to keep safe by keeping their distance from Lake Huron and creeks and rivers.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) joins local municipalities in reminding the public to put safety first this season.

As ice forms on the lake, it constantly breaks up, refreezes, and gets pushed toward the shoreline. This forms ice shelves that can stretch several metres out into the lake. It appears almost as an extension of the shoreline in some places. This may tempt some people to consider walking near or on these formations but these surfaces are not safe to walk on.  

Compared to ice that forms over bodies of standing water, ice forming over the Great Lakes is thinner and more unstable because the lake is always moving beneath it. What appears to be thick, stable ice, can hide large cracks or caverns. One wrong step and individuals can find themselves falling through the cracks and getting trapped in the caverns or plunging into the frigid waters. Hypothermia can set in within minutes in cold temperatures. Depending on conditions, it can be difficult for rescue crews to respond. As beautiful as these natural phenomena are, it is far better, and safer, to enjoy them from a great distance. 

The message to ‘Never walk on shelf ice’ is part of the conservation education river safety programs delivered to schools at no charge thanks to the support of local municipalities. The program (delivered to schools virtually in 2022) teaches about safe practices near rivers and lakes and discusses why you should avoid icy shorelines and ice shelves and educates about the phenomenon of ‘ice volcanoes.’

To find out more about lake and river safety messages visit Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s River Safety (formerly Spring Water Awareness Program) page here:

To find out more about Lake Huron visit this web page:

Watch these ice safety videos:

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