Columbia's Stephens Lake Park open for ice skating
COLUMBIA - Stephens Lake Park is open for ice skating for the next couple of days, according to Columbia Parks and Recreation.
However, conditions at Cosmo-Bethel Park do not meet requirements, so ice fishing at that park is not open, and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety warns against it.
The ice measures at least four inches in depth at Stephens Lake, according to Parks and Recreation, which is the minimum required by Columbia before the lakes open for ice sports.
Ice depth is checked by drilling holes through the ice at several locations beginning from the shoreline and working inward.
Officials anticipate Stephens Lake will close on Friday, as temperatures are forecasted to be well above freezing.
The ice is not checked on the weekends, holidays or evenings. The ice may be deemed safe one day, but not the next.
Parks and Recreation does not staff these areas. Signs are posted indicating the lakes are open, but will be removed when temperatures warm up.
The public is urged to exercise extreme caution on the ice and encouraged to follow these safety tips:
- Never ice skate or ice fish alone.
- Do not gather in large groups in one spot on the ice.
- Ice skating and ice fishing are not allowed after dark.
- Have a rope, ladder or pole available in case of emergency.
- Warn others of dangerous conditions.
- Be aware that ice thickness is not consistent; stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas that signify thinner ice.
- Beware of ice around partially submerged objects, such as trees, logs, brush, embankments or dam structures.
- Children should NEVER be allowed to skate or fish unsupervised.
For more information, call Parks and Recreation at 573-874-7460.
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