Our organization was against the American River Parkway holiday alcohol ban when it was proposed, on the basis that the rowdy behavior of a few was being held against the moderate behavior of the many, and this recent article in the Sacramento Bee about an event on the river involving alcohol proves the point.
Drinking beer outdoors near water in the summer is such an all-American form of recreation that any banning of it seems an over-wrought response, and we would encourage a public safety presence whenever crowds are in the Parkway to handle the rowdy rather than a ban of a much cherished American pastime enjoyed by the many.
Besides, even though the story’s headline screamed out: Social media stir up big, boozy bash on American River, bring arrests and citations; there were only seven arrests among the thousands said to be in attendance, so how big and boozy could it have been?
“County parks officials said Monday that a social media-spawned party that drew thousands of people to the American River on Sunday resulted in alcohol problems rivaling those they used to encounter before a holiday booze ban was implemented along a popular stretch of the river and parkway.
“Such non-holiday events as the one Sunday could lead parks officials to seek a year-round alcohol ban, although county lawmakers say implementing and enforcing such a ban would be a challenge.
“The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department on Monday was still totaling the number of arrests as a result of "Rafting Gone Wild."
“The event, which officials estimate drew 3,000 to 6,000 people to the stretch of the American River between Sunrise Boulevard and River Bend Park, was organized largely via Facebook and other social media. It also was through social media that the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and park rangers learned of the event, and were able to beef up staffing in anticipation of the crowds.
"It really was a river gone wild Sunday," said Deputy Jason Ramos, Sheriff's Department spokesman.
"This was something that was organized, and it spread like wildfire via social media," he said.
“Although 10,000 to 12,000 people confirmed via Facebook that they planned to attend the event, Ramos said, many of those confirmations were from people outside the Sacramento area.
"I think the more mild weather probably kept the number down a bit," Ramos said.
“At least seven people were arrested and numerous citations were issued during the day, most for alcohol-related offenses, he said.”