SUTTER COUNTY — Alcohol, fights and even arrests have become common at Rafting Gone Wild events.
But this year, the annual rafting event was moved from Sacramento to Yuba City and very few people actually showed up.
“It’s closed… it’s been shut down it looks like successfully,” said rafter David Aragon.
Aragon and his friends decided to turn around after learning Feather River Parkway was blocked off for the day.
“I’m [going to] have to go somewhere else. I get it, it sucks, but I get it. They don’t want a bunch of crazy people doing what they do,” he said.
The closure is no coincidence; Yuba City decided this was the right move after learning the event had been moved to their area.
“That is a dangerous place and I think there was some safety concerns,” explained Captain Chad Niswonger, Sutter County Sheriff’s Office.
In past years, the event has drawn thousands to the lower American River in Sacramento.
It’s a day of fun in the sun with a lot of drinking and partying, leading to medical emergencies and even a ban on alcohol on the river during the event.
“If there’s alcohol involved or marijuana or anything like that, you’re always going to have those outliers, those groups, who ruin it for everybody else,” Niswonger said.
This was the first time the event was scheduled to be held in Yuba City. In the past it has lead to fights and issues with alcohol along the American River in Sacramento @FOX40 https://t.co/jATiSOLCYC
— Jessica Mensch (@Jessmensch) June 15, 2019
Alcohol is allowed on the water in Yuba City, though, which is just one of the reasons why multiple law enforcement units were called in, just in case.
“We’ve probably got about 40 people, between swift water rescue, search and recovery drivers… obviously, there’s ATVs and UTVs,” Niswonger said.
But with less than 20 people on the river Saturday, officers weren’t very busy.
The rafters just hope this won’t be the end of Rafting Gone Wild.
“Hopefully next time things open up again… maybe later this summer we can still have a raft day,” said Samuel Haile.
The event’s Facebook page says there will be a Rafting Gone Wild “Part 2” event in Sacramento next month.