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The Big Salmon river is very popular with intermediate/experienced canoeists, however there are some dangers as evidenced by the event recorded by this article in the Whitehorse Star on June 21, 2001:
Tourist drowns on Big Salmon River
by MICHAEL HALE
A 60-year-old German tourist visiting the Yukon with two friends drowned Wednesday, after his canoe capsized near the mouth of the Big Salmon River.
The three men, whose names have not yet been released, were paddling in two canoes about 170 km northwest of Teslin when one of the boats tipped, sending two men scrambling.
One of the men made it to shore and is in good health, say police. The other man, however, was carried away and lost to his friends. His body was later discovered down river, beneath some logs.
Using a satellite phone they had with them, the
surviving men called Tina Van Wiegen at the River View Hotel, where they had
been staying the week before. “I would say they were in shock,” said Van
Wiegen, explaining that they didn’t seem too frantic on the call. “All I got
was their location, but it was very exact.”
She relayed that information to the Whitehorse RCMP, who passed it along to the Teslin detachment.
Teslin officers, along with local search and rescue began hunting for the missing men just after noon yesterday. The two survivors were located by helicopter shortly after the call came in to police, said Cpl. Tim Ashmore. The body of the other man was found at about 8:45 p.m.
Van Wiegen said the two other men are holding up, but
are “obviously, quite down.”
“To tell you the truth, I get quite close to my guests, so I had trouble sleeping last night.” The men left the River View about a week ago, she said, and had set out on their adventure. They were experienced enough to know where they were, but the waters were high and fast flowing, reads a police news release.
The Big Salmon runs from the Quiet Lake area, northwest of Teslin, to its confluence with the Yukon River, east of Carmacks.
Klondike Trail, a recently published canoeing and hiking guide, lists the Big Salmon as a more challenging river than most Yukon routes that “regularly features hazards such as sweepers, rapids, logjams and rocks.” The 350-km journey usually takes between eight and 10 days.
Ashmore said the investigation will continue into how and why the accident happened, with more information being released this afternoon. In the meantime, the two men are waiting to go home. They are stuck in the Yukon until next week, when the next flight will be available.