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.

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Folsom Lake Winter Debris Still Clogging Boat Ramps For Memorial Day

Boaters trying to get an early start on the holiday weekend are facing problems on Folsom Lake ahead of Memorial Day.

The lake’s boat ramps are clogged with wood and debris washed downstream from a storm winter.

Park rangers will be patrolling the area, but they are concerned about going out on the lake themselves. What looks like a twig from the top of the lake could carry a bigger hazard underneath.

Tony Tonso and his daughter Tiffany tried to get an early start on the upcoming Memorial Day weekend but were faced with a logjam. They had to move around a mass of sticks and larger branches in the pathway.

From above, the enormity of the mess is clear, with debris piled along the shore, washed down by a record winter of rain. Workers are trying to clear it, but there’s only so much a tugboat can do.

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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.

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19-year-old missing after jumping into American River last week

Searchers continued looking Monday for a 19-year-old man that went missing last week after jumping into the American River, officials said.

Raymond Cabalfin Jr. went to Lake Clementine Trail in Auburn on Thursday with friends. He tried to cool off shortly before noon by jumping off a rock into the river, about three-quarters of a mile upstream from a popular swimming hole known as Clark’s Pool.

Cabalfin was swept away instantly, and by the time his friends called 911 and ran further downstream to intercept him, he was no longer in sight, Cabalfin’s family said. Park rangers at Auburn State Recreation Area responded immediately and searched the area for seven hours but were unable to locate Cabalfin.

Park rangers at the Auburn State Recreation Area are working closely with Placer County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol in the search. State Parks has ruled Cabalfin’s disappearance as a drowning and is no longer coordinating an active search effort.

“It’s not likely that he is alive,” said Auburn State Recreation Area Superintendent Mike Howard. “We had enough number of people search the area, and if he was alive, we would have found him.”

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Wet Winter Leaves Sea Of Debris On Folsom Lake

You might want to think twice about bringing your watercraft to Folsom Lake as debris is blocking most launches.

State Parks officials say they’re aware of the problem and are contracting with a company to remove the debris as quickly as possible.

“It’s a total disaster, absolutely a total disaster; I was shocked, disappointed.”

That was Steven Gelenich’s reaction when he drove up to a launch Tuesday morning, expecting to see a full and clear lake.

“The main launch ramp over there is a total disaster, it’s full of thousands of pieces of wood, absolutely no way to launch,” Steven said.

But the debris wasn’t going to stop Steven.

“I’ll tell you right now I’m gonna find a way to launch today,” Steven said.

He was determined to cruise the lake on his jet ski. Steven drove to different launches and Oak Beach, but he wasn’t having any luck finding a clear spot to launch.

“I feel like I’m going to cry right now, I’m so disappointed,” said Steven.

According to State Parks officials, years of drought led to a build-up of debris as far up as the Sierra. Heavy winter rains washed the debris into rivers, reservoirs and ultimately here, into Folsom Lake.

“It probably started coming in back in January, or February,” said Superintendent Richard Preston.

It’s now May, and with Memorial Day just around the corner, CBS13 wanted to know why wasn’t the debris cleaned up right away?

“We had this up and down of the water which pushed debris back and forth, and we couldn’t get to it effectively,” Preston said.

Crews began removing debris at the end of last week. They have 75 miles of shoreline to clean up.

“If we don’t get it cleaned up it’s definitely going to impact revenues for the park,” added Preston.

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Another dog bite on the parkway – this time by leashed dog

Another dog bite occurred Sunday along the American River Parkway, where some cyclists are concerned about owners not watching their animals closely enough.

A bicyclist and the dog owner were chatting near mile 3.5 on the parkway not far from Cal Expo about 3:30 p.m. Sunday when the bite occurred, according Sacramento County spokeswoman Kim Nava.

The man was bit on the face and the leg by the leashed dog. The dog was taken to the Sacramento County Animal Control shelter.

Sacramento County rangers interviewed the dog owner and the investigation into what occurred is ongoing, said Nava. The dog’s breed was unconfirmed.

“Evidently, all the parties were speaking to each other,” said Nava. “Something startled the dog and he bit the parkway visitor. They are still investigating exactly what happened.”

 The injured man was treated by Sacramento City Fire Department personnel. He later sought further treatment, Nava said.

While the dog in the Sunday incident was on a leash, Sacramento County rangers cite about a half-dozen people every month for not having dogs on leashes in county parks, including the American River Parkway.

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Body of missing teen found in American River

The body of a missing teenager has been recovered from the waters of the American River Wednesday after he was reported missing April 30.

The 14-year-old boy’s body was found by California State Parks at approximately 11:30 a.m. in the general area where he went missing. The boy, who was not wearing a life vest, was swept down stream from Rainbow Bridge in Folsom.

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Search now a recovery mission for teen last seen jumping into American River

Crews continued to search Wednesday for the missing teen who was last seen jumping off rocks Monday evening near Folsom’s Rainbow Bridge.

The search, which was relaunched at 8 a.m Wednesday, is officially considered as a recovery mission, said Rich Preston, California State Park superintendent.

“We are still actively looking for him,” Preston said.

A Yolo County Sheriff’s Department boat equipped with side-scanning sonar that can provide images of the lake bottom was brought in to aid the search efforts. Two State Park boats and a Sacramento Drowning Accident Rescue Team were also on the water near the Negro Bar State Park beach.

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