With Alcohol Ban in Effect, Fewer People are Going to Local Waterways for Labor Day

SACRAMENTO -- Alcohol was banned over the weekend and all holiday weekends, making the American River much calmer for Sacramento County park rangers.

"We enjoy rafting out here and it’s the end of season for us, so last one of the year," said Angela Hoskins.

Hoskins came to the American River with her kids this Labor Day, feeling better that the county banned alcohol.

"I’ve been on the river many a times where I’ve seen police officers towing people unconscious back and forth," Hoskins said. "So having my kids out here makes it easier not to have any alcohol."

Park rangers say the ban was put in place after people were irresponsible on the waterways.

"In years past it’s been very chaotic," said Sacramento County Park Sgt. Elmer Marzan. "Numerous fights, shootings, just acts of violence."

This year, rangers are not checking ice coolers where the rafts are put in the water off Sunrise Boulevard. Instead, they’re being proactive, trying to catch offenders in the act.

"Putting them out on the river, on the trials, we have our patrol boat out," Marzan said. "And basically they’ll sit on top of the levees and look for alcohol violations as the rafts go by."

Rangers say the crowds have significantly dropped on Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day weekends, holidays when the ban is in effect. Hoskins says that creates another great advantage to floating on those sober days.

"I see less cars in the parking lot. That was a plus also, finding parking," Hoskins said.

Rangers have also been placing an alcohol ban whenever a rafting community group called Rafting Gone Wild tries to organize a day. Since then, rangers say the event has become much tamer.