Warning Thin Ice on Ponds During the Winter!
By Matt Over, Park Ranger Supervisor
There are three ponds at Ken-Caryl Ranch, The Dakota Lodge Pond, Brannon-Gearhart Pond and Settlement Pond near Shaffer Elementary School. All three ponds have aerators operating inside the ponds. However, from November to April they are turned off at Dakota Lodge and Brannon-Gearhart Ponds as the partially frozen water can be a hazard to big game animals if they were to fall through the ice attempting to cross or drink the water and become trapped and cannot escape.
In the past, myself and Ranger Gary Norton rescued a yearling deer that fell through the ice. We each carefully slid out onto the ice keeping our bodies flat to the surface to disperse our weight and pulled the deer out. We had to get the circulation going to its legs before it could walk on its own. This had a good outcome, but could have been much worse.
The partially frozen surface of the ponds is even an attractant to dogs and children. However, due to the uneven temperatures and sunny days the ice is usually thin and will not support weight. If a dog or a person falls through the ice, they can become trapped and even become hypothermic.
Be sure to talk to your children as there is a rule against walking on any ice, Rule #13, Ice Skating and Ice Fishing and walking upon any ice is prohibited.” If you have any questions, feel free to call the rangers at 303-979-1876, ext. 170, or email me at email@example.com.