SACRAMENTO -- Every ranger in Sacramento County's park system was on duty on the Fourth of July, most of them along the American River where thousands of rafters and people having holiday picnics congregated.
Rangers were asking rafters if they could search ice chests and bags for alcohol or glass containers that could break and cause harm. If alcohol was found they were asked to take them back to the car or dump containers before putting into the river.
They were also making sure children 13 years old or younger were wearing life vests. They were loaned to families who didn't have them.
While some say they planned to sneak alcohol onto the river, families appreciated the alcohol-free environment.
“I’m out here to have fun, and I’ve got my family here , and it’s the Fourth of July and all these families they want to come out here and enjoy the time," said Felix Pasillas who admitted to drinking freely on the river before he started his family.
At Tiscornia Park and Discovery Park where the Sacramento and American Rivers meet rangers checked bags and ice chests of thousands of picnic goers for alcohol. Loaner life vest stations were nealy empty by late afternoon as families sought to keep children safe in a stretch of river notorious for drownings.
“We seen people very compliant with life jackets and also with the alcohol ban, people behaving themselves like the should," said Supervising Ranger Sgt. Brian Vizzcusi.
There is a correlation between alcohol use and drownings and Vizzcusi said there were no incidents so far during thre three day holiday.