American River Bike Trail Segment Closed As Sacramento County Repairs Damage From 2018 Storms

A segment of the American River bike trail near Rancho Cordova was damaged during a major storm last November. Now, Sacramento County and the city have closed off the section to complete a fix and hopes to re-open it by the end of August.

Liz Bellas, director of Sacramento County regional parks, says she hasn’t seen damage to the trail like this in more than 30 years.

“The riverbank that was adjacent to the trail was undercut and collapsed and fell away,” she said. “The last time that I can recall something like this happening was in the big floods of ’86.”

Crews are now stabilizing the riverbank, and the trail for cyclists has been moved inland a few hundred feet. Those who use the trail have to take an approximately two-mile detour.

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Sacramento police search for suspect in sex assaults at park

This undated photo released by the Sacramento Police Department shows a man suspected of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape two women in broad daylight at a popular Sacramento, Calif., park, as they seek the public’s help in finding him. Authorities say the man allegedly assaulted a woman in Sutter’s Landing Regional Park shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. (Sacramento Police Department)

Police in Northern California say they are searching for a man suspected of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape two women in broad daylight at a popular Sacramento park.

The Sacramento Police Department says the man allegedly assaulted a woman in Sutter’s Landing Regional Park shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

It says officers were on the scene investigating that assault when they were informed that a man had attempted to rape a woman on a nearby bike trail just under Business 80, south of the American River. They determined it was the same suspect in both attacks.

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Crews Now Clearing Part Of American River Bike Trail Blocked By Winter 2017 Landslide

Tons of rubble that has clogged the Lake Natoma bike trail for the last few years is now being cleared.

Parts of the American River Bike Trail have been blocked by large rocks since the 2017 winter storms caused a landslide near the Orangevale Bluffs. Parts of the trail between the Nimbus Dam and the Negro Bar Recreation Area were covered.

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Officials: 30 rescued from American River over weekend

It’s been a busy weekend on the American River, where hundreds of rafts were floating on the water Sunday – even pink flamingo rafts, like the one Semien Santos was preparing to ride.

“This is going to be the first time. I’m excited,” Santos said, who was visiting the lower Sunrise area of the American River from Tracy.

But sometimes there’s too much excitement on the water. More than two dozen people had to be rescued by fire crews this weekend.

“Yesterday, Sac Metro engaged in six water rescue incidents,” said Diana Schmidt, an information officer for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

Those rescue incidents involved “30 individuals that were pulled out of the water,” Schmidt said.

On the fast-flowing American River, running at about 3,500 cubic feet per second, it’s easy for rafts to get snagged in tree branches or debris under the water, especially store-bought devices that are more suited for a swimming pool.

And many people were not wearing life vests on the river.

Fisherman Steve Sims has seen it all from his vantage point on a footbridge overlooking the water.

“This morning, I warned a guy because the little kid didn’t have a life vest on,” Sims said.

“I said ‘Hey man, the ranger will cite you if you don’t wear a vest.’ And the guy goes, ‘Okay, thank you,’ and then they just floated off,” Sims said.

Roughly 40% of the people rescued on Saturday were not wearing life vests, Schmidt said.

She tried warning rafters Sunday about the dangers of the river.

“Where are your life vests?’ Schmidt asked one rafter.

The man replied: “We are not bringing life vests. We’re just going for it but we’re very good swimmers.”

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Thrill Seekers Urged To Heed Danger Signs After Teen Gets Injured Jumping From Ponderosa Bridge

Cal Fire firefighters from Colfax and California Highway Patrol have a warning for teenage thrill-seekers after a girl was injured after jumping from the Ponderosa Bridge.

“It’s going a little too far when people are jumping from 50 or 60-foot bridges into an unknown depth of water. It’s a very dangerous thing to do,” said Cal Fire engineer Forrest Roweell.

According to Cal Fire, the 17-year-old girl suffered moderate back injuries after jumping from the bridge located at the North Fork of the American River. Cal Fire firefighters from Colfax were joined by Auburn stations of State Parks, the Foresthill Fire Protection District and a CHP helicopter.

Because of the location deep in a canyon and a rough winding road going in and out, the teen faced further injury and was airlifted to the Sutter Roseville Medical Center as an ambulance would have taken too long.

Officer Jared Boothe with the CHP Valley Air Division says the helicopter was the only option.

“For the fire department and rescue personnel to carry you up and out of that trail could be a very laborious task,” said Boothe.

Despite news of the rescue, teenagers were still jumping from the bridge Tuesday evening.

“I mean sometimes in life you have to face your fears,” said Zachary Gephart. “I’m surprised the girl got injured. The water’s pretty deep and it feels good.”

While clearly marked as a “no jumping zone,” exploits are regularly filmed and posted to social media.

Some online video posts celebrate dives off the bridge with tags like “Sickest Ponderosa Bridge Jump,” “Epic 50-Foot Bridge Jump” and “Ponderosa Bridge Back Flip.”

Roweell says the girl injured on Saturday is lucky to be alive, noting that the waters vary in depth and move swiftly.

“It could have been a lot worse we are just thankful that she’s okay,” he said.

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Levee improvements prompt long-term Garden Highway closures

A busy section of Garden Highway will be closed through October while crews make improvements to levees around the Natomas Basin.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that starting Monday, Garden Highway will be closed between Northgate Boulevard and Truxel Road through Oct 31.

The Garden Highway underpass at I-5 will also be closed for three weeks starting Monday.

The work is part of the ongoing American River Common Features-Natomas Basin project, authorized by Congress in 2014.

The project aims to improve 42 miles of levee surrounding the Natomas Basin.

Contractors are placing a device called a seepage cutoff wall in the existing levees. The wall is formed out of concrete 50 feet deep into the levee to prevent water from seeping through and eroding the flood protection barriers.

Because Garden Highway sits atop the levee, crews need to close the road to excavate and construct the wall.

Drivers are asked to use West El Camino Avenue as an alternate route around the closure of Garden Highway between Northgate Boulevard and Truxel Road.

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American River Homeless Crews Work To Clean Up Trash

Now that homeless camps are permitted in the area of the American River, some say the problem is growing, but it’s actually the homeless community working to clean it up.

“I believe that the Lord got me doing this out here. I think I’m in the right place at the right time,” Dell Shook said.

He has been homeless since an eviction a few years ago. Now he is working to help clean up the area he’s living in.

Dan Aderholt formed American River Homeless Crews four years ago. It started with six homeless people, but now it’s spread to over 1,000. Every day they meet, spending hours cleaning up the river not just for themselves, but for the whole community.

“We got children that come out and go fishing and stuff like that, so I think people would like to see a nice clean area when they come out,” Shook said.

Now the crews are expanding to beyond the homeless community. The word is spreading on social media, and people are volunteering to help any way they can.

“I’ve never seen that before where community members come down and take the day off to come down and help us clean and bring my crew members subway pizza you name it they do it,” Aderholt said.

Many never expected to be in a situation like this, but still trying to make the best out of it.

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Crews rescue 12-year-old who fell into American River

Crews rescued a 12-year-old who fell into the South Fork American River on Friday, the El Dorado Fire Protection District said.

They responded to the call at around 11:30 a.m. and found that the 12-year-old was holding onto shrubbery in the Coloma State Park area. A CHP air operations unit was monitoring the child in case they lost grip of the shrubbery, officials said.

It is unknown why the child fell into the river, officials said.

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Fisherman’s Rescue Underscores Dangers Of Cold, Fast-Moving American River

For those who plan to head to the waterways this Father’s Day weekend, continued snow melt from what’s left of the Sierra snow pack is making its way to the valley and river temperatures are running cold.

This heat is bringing more people to the water, and on Thursday, there was another river rescue along the American River. A fisherman is now hospitalized after being swept into deep water. It is believed he had a medical emergency. Now, now fire crews are investigating whether the cold water is to blame.

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There’s a hidden danger at this popular Sacramento beach, water rescuers say

Crowds will be returning to Tiscornia Beach at Discovery Park this Memorial Day weekend.

And even with the cooler-than-normal temperatures this month, the Sacramento Fire Department’s water rescue team is sending out an early warning about a hidden danger at the popular cool-down spot.

“This is where drownings occur. People don’t realize it when they wade out how suddenly their footing drops off,” Sacramento Fire Captain Adam Watt said.

As the level of the American River drops throughout the summer, it’s possible for people and children to wade out to the middle of the river in knee-deep water.

“However, while you may be standing on almost flat surface, one step and you drop off into a super steep decline and it catches people unaware. And people who can’t swim or aren’t ready can go under and be swept into the fast-moving current,” Watt said.

Emergency officials stress the importance of wearing a life jacket to give water rescuers enough time to save potential drowning victims.

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