People urged not to swim in gravel pits
A popular swimming hole near Felton, Minn., is hazardous and should be avoided, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Department. Authorities urge people to stay away from gravel pits after one injury and a rash of trespassing violations occurre...
A popular swimming hole near Felton, Minn., is hazardous and should be avoided, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities urge people to stay away from gravel pits after one injury and a rash of trespassing violations occurred at a gravel pit east of Felton.
More than 30 people have been caught swimming in the Felton pit in the past week, most receiving citations for trespassing or alcohol-related offenses, the sheriff's department said.
"It is very appealing looking," Sheriff Bill Bergquist said. "But these gravel pits are dangerous."
On July 16, a swimmer shattered his ankle when he tried to jump off a cliff into the water but missed, landing on a ledge, Bergquist said.
Aggregate Industries leases the land near Felton where the pit is located, said Mike Rose, operations manager. The land is owned by the state of Minnesota.
Gravel pits are unsafe because the material is shifting all the time, making the walls unstable.
The depth of water in the pit varies from 30 feet to 75 feet, Rose said.
Water temperature in the pit changes rapidly, often becoming very cold, Rose said.
Making the pit even more hazardous, Bergquist said, is that many people caught swimming recently have been consuming alcohol.
Deputies cited two people on July 16 for minor consuming at the gravel pit.
On Monday, authorities found 20 to 30 people at the gravel pit. They cited a 16-year-old male for drunken driving and cited several minors for consuming alcohol.
Deputies issued 13 trespassing citations on Tuesday and Wednesday to people swimming in the pit, Bergquist said.
The gravel pit is on private property and is marked no trespassing to prevent people from getting hurt, Rose said.
"I wouldn't want my kids to play in it," he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590