Park Rangers Patrol American River as Rafting Gone Wild Kicks Off

SACRAMENTO -- It was one of three summer Saturdays where Sacramento County park rangers didn't have the day off.

Hundreds of rafters got the call to the American River on social media for an event rangers say isn't permitted.

As with every Rafting Gone Wild event, alcohol as been banned, a decision that gets mixed reactions.

"I think people are pretty responsible with the alcohol consumption, usually," said Kyle Stanek of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"I think that's an excellent idea, because sometimes people are less discipline and you need to ... it's all about safety," said Doug Nereu.

Rangers said a part of the reason the alcohol ban exists is because when people are in the water, they aren't drinking enough water.

"Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is not a hydrating drink," said Chief Ranger Michael Doane.

Last summer, the Rafting Gone Wild organizer, Sammy Diaz, was fined for putting on the event without a permit and was charged after evading rangers by jumping off the American River foot bridge. This year, he told FOX40 he opted out of organizing the three annual events.

"His social media accounts would say otherwise," Doane said.

Park rangers say there are now more beaches on the American River that were not there last year. Heavy rains and flows moved sediment in the river, creating more sand bars.