Historically, ice jams have been a nuisance in Logan when the Gallatin River becomes blocked, floods, and puts surrounding houses at risk of being damaged.
“An ice jam looks more like big to medium-sized chunks of ice that pile up,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Information Officer Morgan Jacobsen. “It’s not a uniform surface like you see over here in Logan.”
Jacobsen says Logan is notorious for being affected by flood waters from the Gallatin due to ice jams. Logan residents are no strangers to dealing with the freezing flood waters.
“Those broken-up shelves of ice stack up in one place and then water gets diverted out of the river,” said Jacobsen.
For now, Jacobsen says it looks like Logan is in the clear.
But in Ennis it’s a different story. The Ennis Police Department posted photos on its Facebook page after the Madison River flooded. This forced them to close Lions Park, east of the 3 pedestrian bridges. Ennis fishing access site and Valley Garden access site are closed as well.
“When ice jams stack up close to those areas, snow will come and blanket all of that so you can’t really see what’s going on underneath,” said Jacobsen.
Jacobsen says they have to keep these sites closed until the weather allows them to go in, assess the area, and make any needed repairs. He says this time of year is when they see the most ice jams.
“In fact, this time last year is when it happened on the Madison in that same area,” said Jacobsen.
Water is currently entering Lions Park at a moderate rate through the repaired levy that failed last year. Jacobsen says to be careful recreating on any body of water this time of year.
“You really need to be safety conscious,” said Jacobsen. “Not walking on unstable ice and venturing into places that have flooding issues.”