Category Archives: Bike Trail

Locals try to seek safe spots on the American River

As Fourth of July approaches, people are heading to the area’s waterways to stay cool, but some are avoiding the most dangerous spots on the American River.

On Sunday, many people were cooling off at Lake Natoma – a calmer portion of the river near Folsom.

“As you can see here, they have the swimming holes for the children and that’s where it’s all calm,” said Shane Nischke. “And you can see where everybody else is kayaking, it’s great out there — there’s nothing roaring through here.”

The Nischke family came all the way from Auburn to enjoy this spot, even though there are plenty of rivers where they’re from.

“It’s just dangerous,” he said, referring to those rivers. “For the last three years, this is the place I come with my children because it’s the safest.”

Nischke is familiar with the dangers of the American River because he lost a close friend in a drowning incident on the river.

“He was out on a trail and then he fell in right in the rapids and the undertow took him and wrapped him up around a log,” he said. “He couldn’t get out, and therefore, his life was ended that day.”

More at ABC10.com >>>

Rafting scene mild, not wild, at annual American River event

Rafting Gone Wild wasn’t quite as wild as it was last year.

Last year, one of the organizers of Rafting Gone Wild jumped off a bridge to avoid law enforcers. Park rangers made six arrests at the 2016 event on suspicion of everything from public intoxication to battery on a police officer.

This year, that level of mayhem was not equaled as of late Saturday afternoon.

At the Clay Banks off El Manto Drive in Rancho Cordova, hundreds of kayaks, rafts and other floatation devices moved across the American River early Saturday.

Participants varied widely in age, from the very young to the elderly. They also varied widely in their levels of public intoxication. Although there were signs around the river indicating that alcohol was banned, some did not heed the warning. While many rafts featured large families out to have outdoor fun on a hot day, others had large coolers, flasks and drink cups.

As of 6 p.m., there was no official report of the number of arrests made and citations issued.

While the event’s Facebook page describes the area as “the biggest party on the shores,” there wasn’t much obvious public drinking, likely influenced by the park rangers who were stationed right off the river.

“People are trying (to party) but they’re just staking it out,” said one female rafter. When her group was asked if they had been drinking, all but one smiled and shook their heads no. One member, however, gave two thumbs up.

Bill Thomas, one of the rafters, led a group of family and friends that came from as far as Santa Rosa, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and even Florida.

For Thomas, Rafting Gone Wild is a yearly tradition. For past events, he has made a PVC pipe water-shooter and a cross-beam water balloon slingshot, the latter of which was later banned from the event. He said the number of revelers has decreased over the years.

“Each year there are fewer and fewer people here,” he said. “I think that has a lot to do with tablets and other forms of entertainment that we didn’t have back in the day.”

Still, Thomas and his group still enjoy the event. “We really love it,” he said.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Another Rafting Gone Wild event, another alcohol ban on the American River

Alcohol will be banned this weekend along the American River from Hazel Avenue to Watt Avenue in anticipation of crowds for Rafting Gone Wild.

For safety, the Sacramento County Regional Parks director issued the restriction for Saturday and Sunday in an effort to prevent problems associated with the unpermitted event.

“The event being advertised for Saturday and Sunday has a strong focus on alcohol consumption, which contributes greatly to public safety concerns,” states a county news release.

Rafting Gone Wild, which has been coordinated on social media over the years, has drawn thousands of people to the American River. County officials estimated about 3,000 showed up last year.

More at SacBee.com >>>

California Heat Wave Sending Record Snow Melt Surging Into Rivers

The heat wave is melting snow in the Sierra, which is bringing freezing cold water into the valley’s lakes, streams and rivers.

The effects of the snowmelt can also be deadly and proved so on Tuesday.

“With this fast moving water it does not take long for someone to get in trouble,” said State Parks Ranger Scott Liske.

Liske says a group of friends from Sacramento was swimming in the main channel of the North Fork when one of them drowned.

“He went downstream, and his friends ran after him, telling him to grab o to something. He did go under the surface and did not come back up,” Liske said.

Liske couldn’t identify the victim but says he was 20-years old. The heavy flows are also a concern at the Yuba River in Nevada County.

The heavy flows are also a concern at the Yuba River in Nevada County.

“One of the things we are concerned about is not just the issues in the upper elevations; as the snow starts to melt it finds its way down to the lower elevations,” said Nevada County Spokesman Joshua Pack.

Pack says he often sees people jumping into the river like it’s a swimming pool.

“It was over 100 degrees yesterday, definitely not hanging out at my place,” said Brian, who came to swim in the river to cool off.

He says he knows what to look out for, so he doesn’t end up under water.

“Keeping close to the edge, definitely not going into the white part, try not to be swept away too quickly,” Brian added.

More at CBSLocal.com >>>

Cyclist badly injured after rock attack along American River

Kevin Meagher said he was cycling home from work along the American River Parkway bike trail Wednesday when he was attacked by another man on a bike.

“The guy was riding the opposite direction and when he was about five feet away from me I saw he was holding something and then he threw a rock side-arm at me,” Meagher said, just days after being released from the hospital.

Despite the painful blow to his side, Meagher said he kept riding as long as he could, worried he was being chased.

“I started having breathing problems so I had to stop on the side of the road and some people stopped to help me and stayed with me,” Meagher said.

He didn’t recognize the man, but believes he was homeless. The unprovoked attack left him in the hospital for two days, unable to go back to work.

“I had a collapsed lung so I had to have a tube put into my chest for a couple of days,” Meagher said.

The incident happened near Del Paso Boulevard, not far from Interstate 80. Meagher said the rock he was hit with was as large as the man’s hand.

“I couldn’t see his fingers underneath the rock,” Meagher said. “It’s shocking. I don’t know why anyone would ever do that.”

Other cyclists along the bike trail expressed concern, especially because park rangers said Meagher isn’t the only person to have rocks thrown at him while biking here.

More at KCRA.com >>>

Folsom Lake nears max capacity

After a record season of rainfall and an abundant snowpack thereafter, Folsom Lake is rapidly reaping the benefits. As of press time Tuesday, the lake that looked like a mere puddle just months ago, had reached its highest level of the year, nearing its capacity by single digits.

As of  press time on Tuesday, Folsom Lake’s capacity had reached 943,677 acre feet, according to the California Department of Water Resources. The most recent readings show the reservoir just three percent from capacity and 115 percent of the historical average for this period, which was previously recorded at 819,034 acre feet. The total capacity of Folsom Lake is 977,000 acre feet.

So far in June, the Folsom Dam has been operating continued releases with as many as five upper flood gates flowing at one time, day and night. Tuesday, inflow into Folsom was measured at 11,069 cubic feet per second. The current release was reportedly producing an outflow of 12,573 CFS, with 4,877 of that designated for power usage and 7,696 for river spillage.

The current level of Folsom Lake has exceeded its previous high point that was reached in 1978, but has yet to reach the high point it reached in 1983, one of the wettest winters in recent history that was comparable to that of 2016-2017. At 97 percent of capacity, the lake is just three feet from reaching its peak elevation.

In the years that Folsom Lake has reached its capacity, the event has routinely occurred in early June. Currently sitting at 97 percent, it is expected that Folsom Lake will put 2017 in the history books this coming week. Reaching the capacity mark is something local officials are waiting for as it will assist with ongoing clean up efforts.

Once the lake reaches its much-anticipated capacity, the clean up efforts will become much more manageable. Debris that is currently filling the shallow waters of the lake will become parked on the shoreline when the waters undergo their first recession of the season.

More at FolsomTelegraph.com >>>

Discovery Park will open this weekend after four months of being underwater

After being flooded for months, Discovery Park will open its gates Saturday for Memorial Day weekend, Sacramento County Regional Parks announced Wednesday.

The 302-acre park closed in January during winter storms as heavy rains and high releases from Folsom Lake left it underwater. The popular summer destination sits at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers.

Tiscornia Beach and much of the park will remain closed, but the boat launch, some parking lots and picnic areas overlooking the confluence will be open. The Jibboom Bridge will open and the American River bike trail will be available through the closed areas.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Cold reality for swimmers: Be cautious around waterways this warm weekend

With temperatures expected to warm into the mid-90s this weekend, parks and rescue personnel say that if you must enter the water do so with caution – and perhaps a water preserver.

Already this year, a teen has drowned in the cold water of the American River at Negro Bar and rafters have been forced against the pilings of a bike and pedestrian bridge, requiring a fire boat rescue.

The big snowpack means twice the amount of water in the river than was seen in spring during the drought. Increased flows translate into a high and fast American River from Folsom Lake to the confluence with the Sacramento River at Discovery Park.

More at SacBee.com >>>

American River canyon cleanup targets pesky plant

It’s not just litter that volunteers will be scouring the American River canyon for during Saturday’s American River Clean-up.

As well as taking out the trash, Protect AmericanRiver Canyons and its partners will be targeting invasive broom – a plant that board member Eric Peach said is disturbingly on the increase in the Auburn State Recreation Area and threatening to choke off trails.

Clippers and pruners will be provided to participants willing to wade into the dense growth on the branches of the invasive weed. The broom that is cut will be removed and burned.

“Once it gets established, it’s almost like star thistle,” Peach said. “You can’t get rid of it.”

April is a good time of year to reduce the broom footprint because its trademark yellow blooms haven’t appeared and its not seeding, he said.

The cleanup starts with 8 a.m. registration at the confluence information booth. From there volunteers will fan out to areas throughout the recreation area to clean up litter and chop away broom.

 “Being close to the American River and canyons – having wild nature so close by – is why many of us live in the foothills,” Peach said. “One of the easiest way to express our appreciation for the AmericanRiver is to keep the river and canyons clean and safe for all wildlife and people.”

By 9 a.m., the educational component of the Earth-Day related event will start, with a hike and lecture by Perry Cook and Charlene Carveth on canyon bridges and wildflowers. Colfax watercolor artist Juan Pena will be offering a painting demonstration and tips on capturing the canyon on canvas starting at 9 a.m. and lasting throughout the morning.

More at AuburnJournal.com >>>