Search continues for boy who entered cold waters of the American River at Folsom

The search resumed Tuesday morning just downstream from the Rainbow Bridge in Folsom for a swimmer who jumped into the American River on Monday evening.

A 13-year-old boy jumped from a rock into the river at Negro Bar State Park and did not resurface, said Richard Preston, Folsom Lake superintendent.

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Two rafters are plucked from pilings of American River Bridge after spill into water

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District crews rescued two rafters from pilings of an American River pedestrian bridge after they fell into the swift-moving water.

Five people were aboard when the raft hit the PCA pedestrian bridge at Sacramento Bar near Sunrise Boulevard. Three rafters made it to shore but two grabbed onto the pilings of the old gravel company bridge.

Firefighters responded at about 11:45 a.m., according to fire Capt. Chris Vestal. The river is running fairly high and swift. The water, fed by Sierra snowmelt, is cold.

Metro Fire firefighters in a rescue boat reached the two and brought them safely to shore. Vestal said the raft was too small for the high volume of water flowing down the river.

“We have water flows that are historically high for this time of the season,” Vestal said. He added that none of the rafters were wearing life preservers.

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Park Rangers Ask Kayakers, Rafters to Stay Off Lower American River due to Dangerous Flows

Park rangers are asking kayakers and rafters to avoid the lower American River this weekend due to dangerous flows.

After one of the wettest winters on record for California, flows into the American River have been particularly high and fast.

While those flows are far from their highest, officials say they still pose a danger, as debris and trees near the banks are still under water.

“There’s new side channels that people are unfamiliar with and, right now, the river is not in a condition that would support a home bought raft — let alone a rental,” Michael Doane, Sacramento County Parks’ chief ranger, told FOX40.

The power of the water in the lower American was evident from the damage that still needs to be repaired along the parkway. The pedestrian bridge at Sunrise Boulevard was closed for repairs Thursday. Underneath, deflated rafts remain after they were swept under last week. Those on board were lucky to get to safety.

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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.

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New $22M Highway 49 bridge good for rafts as well as cars

Caltrans marked the start of construction on a new bridge on Highway 49 at Coloma on Thursday.

A groundbreaking ceremony signaled a start on a $22 million project designed to bring the crossing over the south fork of the American River up to current seismic standards while providing safer access for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The new bridge in the Lotus-Coloma area will replace the existing 62-year-old structure. Previous Caltrans reports had pegged the age of the bridge at 66.

The project will include seismic upgrades, 8-foot shoulders and new sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. The project also includes new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and retaining walls.

“This project aligns with Caltrans’ goals to provide a safe transportation system that also improves mobility,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said. “Now that the piers of the new bridge are on land versus being in the water, this new bridge will not only allow for safer travel by pedestrians and bicyclists, but it will also make it easier for rafters in the river below.”

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Volunteers come together to tackle canyon cleanup

A hardy group of volunteers gathered at the American River confluence bright and early on Saturday morning with the goal of helping to spruce up the canyon and river areas.

   Earth Day, which began in 1970, is now celebrated in more than 190 countries worldwide. It has been celebrated for 19 years in Auburn, with many like-minded individuals coming together on this day to be involved in recognizing Earth Day 2017.

   Organized locally by Protect American River Canyons (PARC), Auburn State Recreation Area and Canyon Keepers, there were numerous tasks for the volunteers to tackle. Volunteers eagerly showed up with gloves and were loaned trash pickers, pruning shears and large plastic bags.

   After a safety talk by Auburn State Recreation Area Supervising Ranger Scott Liske, trash pickup was targeted on the Quarry Trail, No Hands Bridge Trail, Lake Clementine Trail, the Confluence Trail, Stagecoach Trail and along Foresthill Road near Mammoth Bar.

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Three county supervisors appointed to Lower American River Parkway Conservancy

Sacramento County supervisors appointed three of their own to the advisory committee for the Lower American River Conservancy Program on Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint supervisors Phil Serna, Susan Peters and Don Nottoli to the committee, with the goal of protecting the parkway, often called the “jewel of Sacramento,” and promoting recreational opportunities.

The American River Parkway is an urban greenbelt that provides flood control and wildlife habitat and protects water quality, along with biking and walking trails.

“Overall the American River Parkway is one of the best amenities in the region,” said Dianna Poggetto, executive director of the American River Parkway Foundation. “It’s considered a blueprint for all the greenbelts in the United States.”

The parkway attracts 8 million visitors annually, Poggetto said.

The Lower American River Conservancy Program was established in a bill authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

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Woman Plummets From California’s Highest Bridge During Ill-Advised Selfie Effort

A California woman was airlifted from beneath the state’s highest bridge this week, after she fell from the structure while attempting to take a poorly thought out selfie.

According to a Facebook post from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, on Tuesday the woman and “a group of her friends,” all of whom were from the Sacramento area, “were walking on the girders underneath the Foresthill Bridge in violation of Placer County Code 12.04.190 and Penal Code 602.”

The Foresthill Bridge, which is known by some as the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge or the Auburn Bridge, crosses the North Fork American River near the Sierra Nevada foothills. According to Highestbridges.com, at 730 feet high, it was the second highest bridge in the world when it opened in 1973, and remains the highest bridge in California and the fourth-highest bridge in the US.

During her alleged illegal jaunt across the bridge’s girders, police say that the woman “attempted to take a selfie and fell from the girders landing on the trail approximately 60 feet below.”

Remarkably, she didn’t die on impact, and was “life-flighted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center and is expected to survive.” According to the SF Chronicle, it helped that she “landed on a path that was still close enough to the top of the bridge” as “no one would likely survive the fall to the bottom of the American River Canyon.”

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Crews Work to Clear American River Parkway Trail Following Stormy Winter

Weeks of unrelenting rain this winter damaged much of the dirt trail along the American River between Discovery Park and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

Maintenance crews have spent weeks clearing the area to give runners and horses their trail back, but it’s a lot of work.

Debris hangs on trees, branches block a dirt trail by the American River — a once clear path now a mess.

“I’ve been on a lot of trails, and I’ve never seen something as bad as this,” said Sabrina Lemar with AmeriCorps.

Storms slammed Sacramento for weeks this winter. As the rain fell, the American River rose. High water levels damaged the 30-mile stretch of equestrian and hiking trail between Discovery Park and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

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Pile of driftwood around Folsom Lake catches fire

A pile of driftwood caught fire Sunday morning at Folsom Lake, the South Placer Fire District said.

Firefighters responded to the lake in Granite Bay during the early-morning hours and were able to extinguish the flames.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Large piles of driftwood and debris have collected along the lake’s shore, the Folsom Lake State Park officials said.

“Pretty much is a ring completely around the lake,” park superintendent Richard Preston said Thursday. “Came down from the reservoirs up above and some of the debris that’s been in the river systems for a number of years through the droughts, and it pretty much all just flushed down this year with large storms in January and February.”

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