Wasilla hunter feared dead after trying to cross stream

Casey Grove

A Wasilla man swept away while crossing a stream off the Denali Highway on Monday is presumed dead, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Bart Barnes, 51, was riding an all-terrain vehicle Monday morning with a group of other hunters who were stranded by high water at Butte Creek near Mile 80 of the Denali Highway, troopers said. Barnes tried to cross the creek, his hunting companions told troopers, and the water carried him away.

Troopers searched from the air with a helicopter but did not see Barnes anywhere along the creek or in the nearby Susitna River. It's likely that he drowned, troopers said.

More helicopter overflights to search for Barnes are expected, but hunters still in the area, hit with recent flooding, are the main concern for now, trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

"We are encouraging people to not cross waterways until they are safe to do so," Peters said by email. "We have been proactive with checking on hunters. A trooper has been out for the past four days making contacts. We are continuing to encourage they be patient and wait for it to be safe."

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.

Anchorage Daily News