KOKOMO, Ind. — While the water rushes and threats loom at low head dams, one nonprofit organization is hoping to save lives from the dangerous part of the waterways.
This weekend, the Wildcat Guardians unveiled a new portage trail around a low head dam on Wildcat Creek in Kokomo.
"We felt like the money and the effort would be worth it if one life was saved," the organization's president Rick Parsons said.
Like Parsons, the organization is filled with people passionate about the creek and activities on it.
"This area was basically overgrown and no way easily to get out so what most people would do especially if you didn't know try to go over the top of that dam," Parsons said.
So with a $5,000 grant in hand, the organization spent the past year clearing the area of ceramic debris and vegetation to create the trail and prevent anyone from drowning. The trail allows people to exit the creek right before the dam and enter the water again after they've past the dam. Parsons said signs have also been installed to warn and inform people of the dam and trail.
"Unfortunately, we have people that drown in low head dams every year," Indiana Conservation Officer Captain Jet Quillen said.
Safety officials want you to heed their warnings and become educated on low head dams. Quillen said to avoid them at all costs and do your research, they may not always be marked.
"If you do happen to be caught in a low head dam, hopefully you're wearing your life jacket but you can curl up into a ball tuck your chin to your chest and hopefully that will wash you out. But if you're with someone who is caught in a low head dam never go in after them. Call 911," Quillen said.
The Wildcat Guardians hope those are calls they don't have to make now that there's a trail installed.
"I think this is an ideal maybe project that people could use as an example of how to prevent some of those accidents from happening," Parsons said.