skip to main content

Natural Resources and Parks

King County, Washington

For questions about King County Natural Resources and Parks website, please contact Fred Bentler, webmaster.

May 11, 2012

King County urges caution on rivers that are high, swift, cold from big mountain snowpack

With a forecast for warm and sunny weather over the next several days and a significantly greater-than-average mountain snowpack, King County officials are urging recreational river users to be extremely careful when heading out onto area rivers during late spring’s improving weather.

Even though air temperatures are warming up, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound all remain extremely cold, and recreationists are urged to use caution around open water. Kayakers, boaters, rafters and other river users should check conditions and scout rivers thoroughly for hazards before getting on the water.

“Rivers are dynamic systems, and they are always changing,” said Christie True, Director of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. “Warm weather and cold water can be a dangerous combination, and we urge all river users to exercise a high degree of caution and awareness when recreating on any of King County’s beautiful rivers.”

"If you’re looking to swim, there are much safer places to be than in the rivers, such as our local pools and lifeguarded beaches,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. "If you choose to enjoy the rivers for other recreational activities, we want you to return home safely. Please use caution and wear a PFD on the water.”

For more information on river safety and drowning prevention, visit the King County river safety web page at

Related information

River Safety

Public Health - Seattle & King County

King County Water and Land Resources