Eppie’s Great Race looking for volunteers

Eppie’s Great Race, billed as “the world’s oldest ‘no swim’ triathlon,” is desperately seeking volunteers to work at the event this weekend.

Volunteers will receive T-shirts, lunch and free parking, said race spokeswoman Anita Fitzhugh. Hundreds of people are needed for a variety of tasks from setup on Friday to watercraft takeout on Saturday, she said.

The 38th annual event, in which participants run 5.82 miles, cycle 12.5 miles and paddle canoes or kayaks for 6.35 miles along the American River Parkway, will benefit Sacramento County Therapeutic Recreation Services, which offers recreational activities and other opportunities for disabled people.

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VIDEO: Social Media spurs “Rafting Gone Wild” event on American River

It was a calm start but things got a bit rowdy for “Rafting Gone Wild.” Toward the end of the day, firefighters treated one woman hurt from mud-wrestling. Firefighters say one man was rescued from the water who’d apparently consumed too much alcohol and may have been suffering from severe hypothermia.

By the end of the day, a Sacramento County Sheriff’s helicopter helped clear people out of Riverbend Park as deputies and Rancho Cordova Police managed crowd control and broke up several fights.

Katie Kennedy of Concord heard about the event on Facebook and said it became a “must do” event for many young people from as far away as San Jose. “Mud Island always calls for a little bit of mud wrestling. It’s just the way it is. Lotta girls wanna get in on it. Kind of the place to be at the time,” she said, referring to so-called Gilligan’s Island along the river where hundreds of kids gathered to party and even mud wrestle.

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Kayaker airlifted from American River

A New Hampshire man is in serious condition after he was airlifted during a night rescue from the American River.

News of the Tuesday night rescue was released Thursday afternoon by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

At about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, the sheriff’s air support unit was dispatched to a remote area of the American River near Health Springs in the Tahoe National Forest to rescue a kayaker.

Nathan Warren, 27, reportedly landed wrong after a drop from a 30-foot waterfall and “severely injured his back,” according to Lt. Mark Reed with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

“This section of the American River is very remote but attracts extreme kayakers because of its rapids and waterfalls,” Reed said.

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Prescribed burn below Foresthill Bridge rescheduled for Friday

Weather and human resources permitting, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will conduct a prescribed burn under the Foresthill Bridge in Placer County on Friday.

The controlled fire, designed to reduce vegetation that could fuel wildfires, has been postponed twice in recent weeks, first due to unfavorable weather and then because a wildland fire tied up firefighters and equipment needed for the project.

The prescribed burn is to be conducted on 55 acres under the bridge along the middle fork of the American River, approximately one mile northeast of Auburn.

The primary purpose is to reduce hazardous fuel below the Foresthill Bridge, allowing Placer County to safely perform seismic retrofit activities on the bridge, according to a Cal Fire news release.

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Sewer pipe used as bridge on Carmichael trail to be blocked

A popular nature trail along Arcade Creek in Carmichael is about to become a little more difficult to access.

For decades, nature lovers and hikers on the Jo Smith Nature Trail have crossed over a sewer pipe that spans Arcade Creek near American River College.

Students who live nearby also use the crossing to get to the college.

“I just want to see it left open,” neighbor and avid hiker Siobhan Hutton said. “It’s beautiful, many people enjoy it, many people use it to go to school, I would just like to see it left open. I haven’t seen it harm anybody.”

When the pipe was installed in the 1960’s, railings were attached for safety reasons. The railings have been gone for years.

The Sacramento Area Sewer District owns the pipe and has decided the crossing is dangerous and will fence it off next month.

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Volunteers needed to educate public about American River, Folsom Dam

Volunteers are needed to help educate the public about the American River watershed and Folsom Dam.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam, seeks volunteers to work at the American River Water Education Center, an exhibit facility and drought-tolerant garden located near the dam in Folsom.

The center at 7785 Folsom-Auburn Road exists to increase public knowledge about the American River watershed, the water cycle, conservation, water management, and the history and operation of Folsom Dam. It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers are needed to greet visitors, answer questions, guide school groups, and help maintain the garden. An interview and background investigation are required. An orientation is planned in August for new volunteers, followed by 60 days of on-the-job training.

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Dumped stolen car discovered downstream of Ancil Hoffman Park

A stolen car apparently was recently driven into the American River near Ancil Hoffman Park earlier this month, officials reported.

Once it was in the water, park rangers think it was swept downstream about a mile by abnormally high summer river flows.

Sacramento County Park Ranger John Havicon said the car was stolen from an owner in Gold River. The vehicle was then apparently driven into the river at the Rossmoor Bar boat ramp.

It floated downstream when the river was roaring to a point where Rancho Cordova is on one side of the river and Ancil Hoffman Park on the other. Havicon said the car was spotted in the river around July 1.

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Prescribed burn below Foresthill Bridge canceled due to weekend fire activity

A prescribed burn scheduled for today under the Foresthill Bridge in Placer County was canceled because of wildland fires over the weekend.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for the second time canceled the controlled burn planned for 55 acres on either side of the middle fork of the American River, about one mile east of Auburn. The burn, designed to reduce hazardous fuel below the bridge, was canceled June 28 because of unfavorable weather conditions. Today’s project was canceled because Cal Fire resources were not available.

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No major injuries on Sacramento rivers during holiday weekend

Despite the most dangerous water conditions in recent years, Sacramento-area public safety officials reported no major injuries or deaths on local waterways over the July Fourth weekend.

“We had a real good weekend,” said Scott Cockrum, assistant chief with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

He attributed the relative lack of problems to several factors, including the holiday alcohol ban for people enjoying themselves in and along the river, and requirements that children younger than 13 years old wear life vests in or near the water.

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VIDEO: Alcohol ban = fewer rescues on American River

A series of dramatic river rescues about 10 days ago may have set the tone for the 4th of July holiday weekend.  Some avoided rivers like the American because of the dangers.  But an alcohol ban approved by the State Legislature is getting most of the credit for taking the sizzle out of the 4th..

The loud sounds of a helicopter could be heard moving up and down the American River on Monday.  But it’s what you couldn’t see or hear that made the most striking difference: there was less alcohol on the river.  25-year-old Elizabeth Depelteau was struck by the change.  ”They would get really wasted and everybody would fight and mud wrestle and do all those kinds of things.  It was really scary.”

But there are tradeoffs. Patrol boats from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department gave FOX40’s John Lobertini a front row seat to the cold, fast moving water.  Dam releases from Folsom Lake have slowed, but the river is still moving at double its normal speed.  It’s cold too, a dangerous 52 degrees says Assistant Fire Chief Scott Cockrum.  ”Again, it’s a 50 degree temperature difference between the outside ambient temperature and the water.  It just shocks your body and takes your breath away from you.”

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