Outdoors

Nonpermitted ‘Raftopia’ prompts alcohol ban on American River

Rafters go wild despite alcohol ban

Sacramento area residents flocked to the American River for the annual Rafting Gone Wild outing despite an alcohol ban during the event that's been in effect for a few years now. Some estimates put the number of people hitting the waterway at over
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Sacramento area residents flocked to the American River for the annual Rafting Gone Wild outing despite an alcohol ban during the event that's been in effect for a few years now. Some estimates put the number of people hitting the waterway at over

An alcohol restriction has been issued for the American River on Saturday from Hazel to Watt avenues in preparation for the nonpermitted “Raftopia” event taking place that day.

Michael Doane, chief ranger for Sacramento County Regional Parks, said the main concern is public safety.

Formerly known as Rafting Gone Wild, six arrests were made at the June event, during which Sammy Diaz, the event organizer, escaped law enforcement officials by jumping off of a bridge and swimming away. In July, Diaz was arrested on two outstanding warrants: a misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing a peace officer and a misdemeanor charge of illegally jumping from a bridge at another nonpermitted rafting event on the American River.

In 2012, 23 people were arrested at the Rafting Gone Wild event, while 15 were arrested at last year’s float.

Doane said the ban is just for one day “so that people can enjoy the river … with no risk of near drownings.”

Law enforcement officials from Rancho Cordova Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department will be assisting, via foot, motorcycle and personal water crafts to ask for “voluntary compliance,” Doane said.

The event is schedueld to launch at 11 a.m. from 11500 South Bridge St. in Rancho Cordova and continue to River Bend Park at the end of Rod Beaudry Drive.

Don't be the river’s next victim. Use the Sacramento Drowning Accident Rescue Team’s tips to save yourself from drowning.

Jessica Hice: 916-321-1550, @JesserPea

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