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American River Swells with Thousands of Rafters

More than 3,000 estimated at Saturday's 'Rafting Gone Wild' Event.

Thousands of revelers flocked to the American River on Saturday afternoon in what appeared to be a much tamer gathering compared to last year.

More than 3,000 people were estimated to have attended this year's gathering that was heavily promoted on Facebook. In 2011, the drew close to 4,000 people to the American River and resulted in more than 50 water rescues performed by Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District officials and other rescue crews and at least 10 arrests.

There appear to have been no major incidents this year, although neither fire nor Sacramento County Sheriff's officials could be reached for comment late Saturday.

Sac Metro Fire officials reported 15 rescue assists on the the American River, KCRA 3 reported. Sheriff's deputies told KCRA that at least a half a dozen arrests were made after a fight broke out at in Carmichael.

On the event's Facebook page, some attendees complained that police had closed off a sandbar known as Gilligan's Island near Ancil Hoffman Park.

The day started off peacefully. Shortly after noon, rafters gathered off Sunrise Avenue in Rancho Cordova to take off into the river.

"I just want to raft but this scene reminds me of a college spring break," said Patrick Wang, 24, who was visiting friends in Sacramento from Anaheim. "It's good to have a police presence around to make sure it's safe."

Indeed, Sac Metro Fire and the Sheriff's Office were joined by park rangers and the on boats and jet skis and in helicopters, said Sac Metro Fire Batallion Chief Mark Repetto.

"Everyone on the river appears to be having fun but it would be nice to see more life jackets being worn," Repetto said.

Most in the crowd were of drinking age but there were a few younger rafters on the scene.

"I'm here because it's fun, I'm with my friends, in the water and there are hot guys," said Hailey Williams, 17, of Brentwood.

Safety was a key word on everyone's mind on Saturday.

"They give you life jackets so that's good," said Jenna Cisneros, 22, of Oakley.

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What do you think of Saturday's "Rafting Gone Wild" gathering- just a day of fun on the river or drunken debauchery that used law enforcement's resources? Tell us in a comment.

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River Warrior July 15, 2012 at 07:44 PM
drunken debauchery - to say the least. I doubt ONE ticket was issued for littering. The State/County could kill two birds with one stone if they enforced littering fines - keep the river clean and make some revenue. Most of the people are not local and do not care about what they do/on the river because this event is the only day they will be on the water. BAN ALCOHOL NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Karen Thomas July 17, 2012 at 09:24 AM
How about letting people have some fun, but have a group clean-up of the area afterward? Maybe even have a hotdog bbq after cleanup for those that helped? We all need to have more fun in our lives, and banning anything is never truly a solution to a given problem. Instead of bad feelings and resentment, why not cooperate and compromise to benefit the largest number of the people involved? Only Scrooge would be unhappy with the outcome of such an effort.
Victor Calderon (Editor) July 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
It should be noted that the majority of rafters behaved and some cleaned up the area after the event. http://carmichael.patch.com/articles/23-arrested-at-rafting-gone-wild-on-american-river

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