Hamilton Conservation Authority issues warning about dangers of shoreline ice mounds


Published January 17, 2024 at 8:35 pm

Ice mounds on Lake Ontario. Photo Weather Network

Hamilton Conservation Authority encourages everyone to get out and enjoy the area’s natural areas in any season, but with the arrival of winter weather come winter hazards, especially near Lake Ontario’s beautiful but dangerous shoreline ice mounds.

The conservation authority issued a safety notice to stay away from the ice mounds, which are formed along the shoreline each winter.

“They may look compelling to climb on but they are extremely dangerous,” the notice warned. “They can break apart at any time, they are very slippery and if one was to fall into the water on the lakeside of these mounds, getting out of the water is virtually impossible. Stay away and enjoy their beauty from a distance. “

Hamilton has plenty of popular conservation areas, including Niagara Escarpment properties, Lake Ontario shoreline properties, wetlands, ponds, lakes, creeks streams and dams – and all are best enjoyed safely if family members and pets stay off the ice.

Dangers from ice and icy conditions also present on in areas away from the lake, the conservation authority said, including:

  • Trails – Icy conditions can exist at any time during the winter, especially in valley areas. Extreme caution should be used where the ground is uneven or near a cliff edge as icy conditions may cause slips and falls. Avoid approaching the escarpment edge where ice or snow may compromise solid footing or hide possible dangers.
  • Creeks and streams – Creek and stream banks should be avoided in the winter. Ice and snow make footing unpredictable, and with frequent freezes and thaws throughout the season, water flow may become a dangerous factor. Keep all children away from creeks and streams.
  • Ponds – Ice fishing and skating are two very popular winter activities on ponds and smaller lakes. Do not walk out on to frozen lakes or ponds unless it is posted safe to do so. Follow all posted instructions and never go out alone.
  • Dams – Dams pose a number of hazards, especially during winter when they typically have water flowing through them which prevents the formation of a thick ice sheet nearby. Ice near a dam should never be walked on. There are opportunities to walk across some dams as part of the trail network but walkways across dams are often very slippery and handrails should be used when crossing.
  • Shorelines and marinas – Lake Ontario shorelines and marinas (and any decks or boardwalks around marinas) should always be avoided during cold periods of the year with the exception of permitted ice fishing. Boardwalks may be icy and slippery and even when there is no ice, the cold water is a serious hazard.


inthehammer's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising