Drownings, pandemic remain big concerns for rangers ahead of Labor Day weekend

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – With triple-digit temperatures forecasted for the Labor Day weekend, many could be heading out to the rivers to escape the heat.

But as with most major holidays, Sacramento County Regional Parks rangers will be enforcing a strict alcohol ban this weekend.

“The raft rental counts are down a little bit, which is a little bit surprising,” County Park Sgt. Randy Bickel said.

Bickel said that count usually gives his staff an idea of how many people to expect.

“I think last check, American River Raft Rentals had below 200 rafts rented,” he said.

That could change as the temperatures heat up on Saturday.

“So, we’ll have rangers on motorcycles, rangers on the boat, we’ll have assistance from outside agencies with their jet skis and their boats,” Bickel said. “And the primary reason is safety is the number one concern.”

Despite the outside heat, the water is still very cold. Drownings are a major concern for rangers.

“It’s snowmelt,” Bickel said. “Please never underestimate the river, always be safe, and Sacramento County Parks provides all the free life jackets you could ever need.”

But with COVID-19 still threatening the health of the county, he said people who still want to float the river also need to be prepared for that.

“So, social distancing, wear your mask and practice, you know, safety when it comes to the pandemic. It’s still a serious concern,” Bickel said.

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