Thursday, July 05, 2007

Calm River

A quiet 4th on the river.

River rafters keep it sober
Wild behavior from previous years is gone as new state law bans booze, and officers diligently enforce it.
By Ed Fletcher - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, July 5, 2007

The annual July Fourth floating party along a popular stretch of the American River went from Mardi Gras to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, thanks to officers on boat, bike, motorcycle, horse and foot enforcing a new law banning alcohol.

From Quentin Tarantino to Disney. From a PG-13 rating to G.

And law enforcement officials and river activists couldn't be happier. The new law, enacted last week, made it illegal on the three major summer holiday weekends to drink alcoholic beverages while rafting between Hazel and Watt avenues.

"It's usually like a hockey game on the river," said park ranger Chris Kemp, who was patrolling Goethe Park, where most boats disembark. This July Fourth, "There's families here," he said, "It's amazing."

On the three big summer holiday weekends -- Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day -- rafting down the lower American River had earned a bawdy reputation -- a place to go to drink beer and act wild as you float down the river. Partial nudity was rampant. Fights were commonplace. And drunkenness a near constant.