NDR public access points reopen along the Elkhorn River

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 10:10:51-04

“My favorite thing about being here is watching the leaves on the trees swaying from side to side," said nine-year-old Kailin Fletcher.

The Fletcher family has been itching to get back out on the Elkhorn River. 

“They said they were going to open it this week and we just drove by to see if it was open and the gate was open.  We thought we'd check it out for a couple minutes,” said Doug Fletcher.

John Winkler the General Manager of the Papio NDR says when parts of the Elkhorn River are above five feet high, they close down the three NDR public access points for safety reasons.

Travis Harlow, the Fire Chief for the Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department says a water rescue that took place on Memorial Day is the perfect example of why you shouldn't try to go on the Elkhorn River when it's closed.

“A mom, dad and nine-year boy capsized.  Luckily a bystander was there to grab the little boy or it probably would have ended up being a recovery effort,” said Fire Chief Harlow.

As the temperature heats up and more people head out on the river, the NDR and Waterloo Water Rescue Team want to remind people to make wise choices on the river. 

“It's not like floating in your swimming pool,” said John Winkler.

Winkler says alcohol is prohibited at the NDR access points, but the river is public property.  So if you’re drinking, drink responsibly.

Rescue crews say to watch out for debris in the river, make sure someone in your group has a cell phone and always check the weather before you hit the water.  All these things will greatly decrease your risk of having to be rescued. 

“When you put yourself in the position that you need a rescued, it's not just you who is in danger.  You're putting the rescue crew in danger as well,” said Winkler.

The Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department says thanks to a sizeable donation from the La Vista Volunteer Department, they were able to purchase new water rescue equipment that will greatly help their department.