Flooding Continues in Gallatin Gateway

GCEM Media ReleaseContact:  Patrick Lonergan, 582-2395
Media Release: 140108-01

Flooding Continues in Gallatin Gateway

Gallatin Gateway, MT – Residents in Gallatin Gateway along the Gallatin River are continuing to experience flooding due to an ice jam.  People in the area of Axtell-Gateway Road should expect this situation to continue to cause issues and not quickly disappear.  Like we have seen for the past month, the flooding is dynamic and should be expected to change on a regular basis.

Residents near the affected area should be closely monitoring the river conditions and have an emergency plan on how they will protect their property.  This plan should also identify what they would take, and where they would go, should they decide they need to leave.

People in the area are asked to avoid trying to drive through the affected roads.  This causes congestion as people are working to mitigate the flooding and driving on flooded roads is also dangerous.  It is also encouraged that people stay clear of the Gallatin River in the Gallatin Gateway area as the ice jams are unpredictable and can be very dangerous.

More information is available at www.ReadyGallatin.com.


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Carrot Basin Search


  On January 6, 2014, at approximately 6:55 PM the Gallatin County/Bozeman 911 center received a call of a lost snowmobiler in the Taylor’s Fork area.  A deputy responded and spoke to the reporting party. 

   The reporting party stated that a 23 year-old Bozeman resident had become separated from their group of snowmobilers while riding in the Carrot Basin area of Taylor’s Fork and they were unable to locate him.  When he did not return to the truck by nightfall the other members drove out to the Wagon Wheel Ranch and called for help.  

   The Gallatin County Search and Rescue was activated and responded along with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.  A team of three searchers entered the area by snowmobile and found the missing subject within an hour.  The missing subject had followed a set of snowmobile tracks into a creek bottom and had become stuck.

   The missing subject was an experienced rider and was familiar with the area.  He had extra clothing and water and the ability to make a fire if needed.    The male walked approximately three miles back to the groomed trail where he built a fire and stayed until he was located by Search and Rescue personnel.  The missing subject was brought out by snowmobile to the trail head by Search and Rescue personnel.  He was uninjured, and in good health.

   The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone that if you are enjoying the backcountry of Gallatin County to be prepared to have to spend the night.  Also, many times one person goes missing from a group of snowmobilers, he/she becomes stuck and no one notices, or they might miss a turn.  Try to stay together, and if someone does go missing don’t split up to search for him/her.  Stay together, and if you are the missing/lost person stay in one spot.

River Levels Rise with Cold Weather

GCEM Media ReleaseContact:  Patrick Lonergan, 482-2395
Media Release: 140106-01

River Levels Rise with Cold Weather

Gallatin Gateway, MT – Residents in the Gallatin Gateway area have seen the Gallatin River water level rise during the recent cold spell despite seeing water briefly recede at the start of the weekend.  Many of the areas affected last week are again being affected by flood waters near their homes.  This quick reversal of river levels from Saturday’s receding flooding is a good reminder of how quickly river conditions can change during the winter.

Residents near the river, and recreational users, are encouraged to closely monitor river conditions and utilize caution near the river itself.  Ice jams and their associated flooding is unpredictable and changes quickly.  The ice jam release in December 2012 on the Gallatin River up the canyon which was caught on video (available here) is good evidence of how quickly river conditions change.


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Snowmobile crash leads to rescue


 (Big Sky, Mont) On Friday, January 3rd, 2014, just after 11:00 am, the Big Sky Division of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to a backcountry rescue. Two snowmobilers, aged 68 and a 32, collided head-on at rapid speed about six miles west of the Doe Creek trailhead south of Big Sky. Both riders suffered multiple injuries. Cold weather and high winds added to the hazards facing the injured snowmobilers. Other snowmobilers provided first aid.

Rescuers responded to the scene on snowmobiles towing a special rescue ambulance sled. Rescuers provided additional medical aid. The 32 year old rider was able to exit the backcountry with help from other members of her party. The 68 year old was transported to the Buck Ridge trailhead in the ambulance sled. A waiting Big Sky Fire Department ambulance transported her to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.

The Sheriff would like to remind snowmobile enthusiasts to carry the proper emergency equipment like avalanche beacons and shovels. Riders should carry emergency supplies to keep themselves warm if they are stranded as well as a means of communications to summon help. Riding within your skill level and paying attention to hazards, including other riders, can help ensure a successful day in southwest Montana’s backcountry. ######

Gallatin Gateway Flooding Recedes

GCEM Media Release HeaderContact:  Patrick Lonergan, 582-2395
Media Release 140103-01

Gallatin Gateway Flooding Recedes

Gallatin Gateway, MT – Thursday night much of the flooding along the Gallatin River receded significantly.  Friday morning a channel through the ice jam containing flowing water was present and it continued to expand through the day.  This channel being cut through the ice in the West channel of the Gallatin River appears to have relieved the pressure and allowed enough space to accommodate the current river flow.  The East channel still has minimal water flowing through it.

While much of the flooding has receded from where it has been for the past couple days, residents are reminded that the water level could come back up as quickly as it went down.  Flooding resulting from ice jams is unpredictable and changes very quickly.  With significantly colder temperatures due into the area this weekend, residents near the Gallatin River are encouraged to remain vigilant and closely monitor river conditions.  It is unknown how much affect the colder weather will have on the ice jam and associated flooding, but as we have seen so far this winter conditions can change very quickly.

Everyone is encouraged to have a family emergency plan about what they would do if they had to leave their homes quickly, whether due to flooding or another emergency. This doesn’t need to be a fancy document, at a base level families should have a common understanding of what to take, who is doing what, and where they will meet up.  More information on developing a plan is available at: http://www.readygallatin.com/factsheets.php


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Snowmobiler Killed in Avalanche Near Big Sky


(Big Sky Mont.) Wednesday January 1 at about 6:00 p.m. the Sheriff’s Office was advised of an avalanche south and east of Big Sky in Onion Basin.  Three snowmobiles from Bozeman, all males ages 46, 19 and 19 were in the area when 2 were caught in a large avalanche between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m.  46 year old Burton Kenneth Gibson was buried and killed in the slide.  One member was able to dig himself out.  The two other riders located Gibson using avalanche transceivers, uncovered him and attempted CPR.   The survivors made their way out to the Portal Creek trailhead in Big Sky and notified authorities.  Because of severe avalanche conditions and darkness Sheriff’s Search and Rescue at Big Sky did not attempt to access the area that night.

This morning Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue has 18 members including members of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center going into the area to recover Mr. Gibson and conduct the investigation.  Members will attempt to access the area by helicopter with back up snowmobile teams in place to assist if necessary.  Public access to the area is temporarily closed.

Another release will be posted this afternoon detailing recovery efforts.  Media contact is Sheriff Brian Gootkin 406-539-8824.  #####

By 1:00 pm the body of Mr. Gibson was recovered from Onion Basin and all Sheriff’s Search and Rescue members were back in Big Sky.  The Avalanche Center (mtavalanche.com) will be posting a detail of the avalanche later.  Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office






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Ice Jam Changes in Gallatin Gateway

GCEM Media Release HeaderContact: Patrick Lonergan, 582-2395
Media Release 140101-01

Ice Jam Changes in Gallatin Gateway

Gallatin Gateway, MT – The ice jam on the Gallatin River near Gallatin Gateway has changed resulting in flooding occurring in areas adjacent to the river.  The water level in the East channel appears to have diminished in the past 24 hours while the West channel has seen increased water levels resulting in water leaving the West river channel.  It is suspected that the existing ice jam has changed and blocked off water flow to the East channel.  This is similar to the situation that resulted in flooding in December.  Emergency personnel have been in contact with affected residents and will continue to monitor the situation.  The Gallatin County Road Department has closed Axtell-Gateway Road from Gateway South Road to Deer Spring Lane.

Winter flooding can change rapidly and catch people off guard.  The area affected by flood waters presently can be completely different from what is affected a couple hours later.  Residents in the area should closely monitor the river status and ensure they take necessary steps to protect their property prior to flooding occurring.  If it looks like the water could affect your house, you should develop a plan on how to protect your property and implement it now.  More information on flooding is available at www.ReadyGallatin.com.


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Sheriff’s Detention Center New Years Eve Stats


(Bozeman Mont). Following is the number of people booked into the Gallatin County DC related to New Years Eve.
From 12/31/13 at 6 pm to 1/1/14 @ 11:30 am

Total – 18 arrests
4- females
14- males
Charges included;
Criminal Endangerment -1 (F)
PFMA – 1 (M)
DUI’s – 11
Disorderly Conduct – 3
Criminal Mischief – x2
Criminal Trespassing
Possession of Dangerous Drug
Traffic – 8
Open container – 1
Obstructing – 1

Our last DUI included in this just came in at approx 1130.