Our View: More than a destination for drunks | SierraSun.com

Our View: More than a destination for drunks

Everyone knows that activity on the Truckee River heats up on the Fourth of July.

But until the last couple years that seemed to be all it was ” a crowd of boaters, a few beers and, for many, a good time.

That all changed a couple years ago when the river went from crowded to downright crazy during the holiday. Some say it was an alcohol ban on the American River in Sacramento County that sent a horde of valley residents to the Truckee to booze it up.

The mix of the masses and heavy alcohol consumption soon led to the predictable ” rowdiness and injuries on the river.

Last Fourth of July weekend, a young man misjudged the release on a rope swing, hitting his head on a rock. The individual stopped breathing and responders performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation before life-flighting to Reno.

“Apparently, [the rope swing] was difficult to use, and in an intoxicated state, it was near impossible,” Placer County Sgt. Allan Carter said in 2007.

In a 2007 interview with the Sierra Sun, Bric Haley, the River Ranch’s owner and manager, recalled seeing underage girls throwing up on themselves and other teenagers passing out in the water.

After last Fourth of July it became clear: The Truckee River was no longer a place to enjoy a mild holiday rafting experience and couple cold ones; it had become a destination for rowdy, sloppy drunkards.

The fun had ended, and so the government stepped in. And rightfully so.

A California Senate bill navigating the legislature aims to ban boozing on the river during key summer holidays.

As Dave Lydick, Sacramento County Regional Parks deputy director, put it in a 2007 interview with the Sierra Sun, “You show me a jurisdiction that can deal with 4,000 legally drunk people.”

Lydick had dealt with the rowdy crowds on the American River before a state ban on alcohol during the Fourth of July took effect.

Apart from the law enforcement it took to do crowd control on Fourth of July, the rowdy, dangerous and drunk crowds were leaving behind a trail of trash on the Truckee River that made the beautiful body of water look like a dumpy picnic area.

The license to drink alcohol on the Truckee was abused and may very well be taken away.

That will hopefully give the Truckee a respite from being trashed and keep Tahoe-Truckee from becoming a destination for drunks during the Fourth of July.