The drivers along US 93 on the north end of Hamilton have noticed the Bitterroot River creeping higher and higher. Finally, it has caused the closing of a popular "take-out" site for floaters next to the Veterans Bridge. It is just one of the low-lying areas being flooded by the high water levels in western Montana.

With daily flood warnings and flood advisories, the access sites managed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks are being affected. The latest list of closures and limited access sites May 10th included the Bitterroot River's Hannon Memorial, the Darby Bridge, Anglers Roost, Woodside Bridge, Bell Crossing, Poker Joe, Chief Looking Glass (part of the campground area), and Florence Bridge (lower parking lot).

On the Clark Fork, the closures and limited access sites include: Schwartz Creek, Turah, Sha-Ron, Kelly Island, Council Grove State Park, Kona Bridge and Deep Creek.)

You don't want to be on the rivers anyway, with the fast-moving, muddy water carrying debris like tree trunks and branches that can immediately clog waterways, sending currents other directions. The Bitterroot River will be receding a bit in the next few days, but will be coming back up into the flood stage area by late next week, according to the National Weather Service and the USGS. And, again, if you see water crossing the road - Turn Around, Don't Drown. If you see such a hazard, you might want to alert the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office at 363-3033.

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