Are the crowds on Northern California lakes too unruly? ‘Everyone is in this together,’ officials say

As crowds cool off in the water as summer begins, officials at Discovery Park, Folsom Lake and other Capital Region waterways are taking steps to prevent incidents like those that are being produced recently in other water sources in Northern California.

Since Memorial Day, there have been various reported incidents involving fights and other unruly crowds on Northern California’s waterways that have led to arrests, injuries and even deaths.

A fight broke out Saturday at Lake Berryessa that left one person died from a gunshot wound and five others were injured by stab wounds. One person among the injured was arrested on suspicion of grabbing his gun from his vehicle during the melee, according to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office.

Sunday in Stanislaus County, 75 to 80 people had a confrontation with deputies who were patrolling near Woodward Reservoir. At least six people were arrested.

And, around Memorial Day, officials on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe close Zephyr Cove and several other beaches after numerous reports of fights between tourists.

Sgt. Elmer Marzan of Sacramento County Regional Parks said he believes the county’s waterways are safe, in part because alcohol is prohibited in certain locations along the American River Parkway and at Discovery Park near the confluence of the American. Authorities also restrict alcohol consumption along waterways during the summer holidays.

“We were fortunate to not have anything of this magnitude in Berryessa or Tahoe,” Marzan said.

Barry Smith, chief ranger for the Gold Fields District of California State Parks, pointed to the ban on alcohol in Folsom and Natoma Lakes – as well as state park-specific rangers who patrol the the region – as key factors in preventing lakeside incidents.

Folsom Lake beaches are especially busy in June and on days when temperatures first rise above 90 degrees, Smith said, but he has noticed a change in crowd behavior since alcohol was banned on the coastline in 2003. navigating DUI checkpoints multiple times during the summer.

“I saw the change where the beaches were really noisy and families were starting to come back,” Smith said.

Although authorities are not able to prevent all alcohol consumption at the lake, Smith said the total ban on lakes means lakegoers are being more careful about their drinking.

By continually patrolling, rangers can also evict people who are drinking alcohol early in the day, preventing incidents that tend to occur as the day progresses.

On Sacramento County’s waterways, where alcohol consumption is legal in many places, officials are emphasizing responsible drinking.

“We encourage people to watch their alcohol intake because alcohol is usually a contributing factor to events that trigger something,” Marzan said. “Go ahead, behave accordingly and have fun.”

Water levels also have an effect on lake attendance and crowds. High water levels at the start of summer and in “good…

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