Dangerously fast waters arrive just in time for July 4 boating

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Recent rains have contributed to swift water and potentially dangerous conditions for boaters this week as Minnesotans hit the water for the Fourth of July holiday, state officials say.

Water levels in lakes and rivers around the state are likley to remain high through the holiday, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging boaters to slow down and use caution.

The popular but rain-swollen Minnehaha Creek in the Twin Cities is dangerously high and flowing at double the speed of what’s considered safe, the Star Tribune reports. The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is warning canoeists and kayakers to stay away, the newspaper reports.

A no-wake zone is in effect on the St. Croix River from Taylors Falls to Prescott, Wis.

A log jam near Raspberry Island in downtown St. Paul has doubled in size in the last week and is blocking boat traffic under the entrance bridge to the island during one of the busiest weeks of the year, WCCO reports. Officials are debating who should pay the cost of cleanup, WCCO reports.

In Hennepin County, both Fish Lake and Medicine Lake have declared high water, the DNR notes.

“People should always wear their lifejackets every time they step on a boat and especially during high water,” DNR boating safety specialist Kara Owens said. “High water levels mean a fast and strong moving current, which many boat operators are not used to. That can create dangerous situations.”

DNR officials also warn boaters about hidden debris in the water.

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