Bracing State Parks warning may be saving American River lives

Sergio Garcia made a deadly dare and lost his life when he plunged into the icy, swift-flowing north fork American River near Auburn.

And while the 20-year-old Thornton college student’s June 2017 death in the canyon near Auburn was a tragedy, it moved State Parks rangers to introduce a new safety measure that is believed to have played a major role since then in preventing more lives lost since.

Superintendent Mike Howard of the Auburn State Recreation Area said that there were several close calls in the canyon but deaths this year on the river had not taken place.

And one of the reasons is believed to be a warning measure that came as a direct result of an electric board sign that was posted during the high-water period for a month after Garcia’s death, he said.

During the month the message to stay out of the water and stay alive was up, there were no fatalities in Auburn State Recreation Area related to the river. The river has two forks — the middle and north — that converge at the confluence in the canyon below Auburn.

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